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Twitter tells employees to work from home as coronavirus outbreak intensifies


(Logo: Twitter/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

Social networking service Twitter has sent a note to employees encouraging many of them to work from home as concerns over the global coronavirus outbreak intensifies.

The microblogging website published its memo to employees in a public blog on Tuesday. In it, the service said it was encouraging its employees to work offsite as much as possible in addition to limiting their non-business travel and participation in public events.

“Our goal is to lower the probability of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus for us – and the world around us,” Jennifer Christie, a Twitter human resources executive, said in the note that referred to the coronavirus by its scientific and general name. “We are operating out of an abundance of caution and the utmost dedication to keeping our [Twitter employees] healthy.”

Twitter said it would ensure staff meetings could be conducted remotely — likely via internal web streams — in addition to making other accommodations for employees who want to stay home during the outbreak.

The company said its business offices would remain open for employees who found working remotely impractical or otherwise wanted to be physically at work. It did make an exception for employees living in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea, where it said government restrictions meant workers would be forced to stay home.

“While this is a big change for us, we have already been moving towards a more distributed workforce that’s increasingly remote,” Christie said. “We’re a global service and we’re committed to enabling anyone, anywhere to work at Twitter.”

Twitter is one of several media companies that has fine-tuned its day-to-day business as the global coronavirus outbreak continues. Earlier this week, it told employees to forego non-essential business travel, a move made by other tech companies.

It has also pulled out of several events, mirroring moves made by rivals Facebook and Google, and also traditional media companies like Fox Corporation.

Twitter is based in San Francisco.

For accurate and reliable information about the coronavirus COVID-19, click or tap here to visit the World Health Organization’s website.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).