Twitter: All our employees must now work from home

Social media giant says all its employees will work remotely in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Twitter has told all its employees that they must now work from home in response to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus spread.

"We understand this is an unprecedented step, but these are unprecedented times," said Jennifer Christie, VP of people at Twitter.

The company said its top priority remains the health and safety of its workers, but said it also has a responsibility "to support our communities, those who are vulnerable, and the healthcare providers who are on the front lines of this pandemic".

It's the third phase of Twitter's reaction to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

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On 29 February it suspended all non-critical business travel and events. "Our goal is to reduce the risk that anyone at Twitter might contract or inadvertently spread the virus. It is important that we take these proactive steps to protect ourselves and others and minimize the spread of COVID-19," it said at the time.

On 2 March it told staff that it was "strongly encouraging" them to work from home. Working from home had already been mandatory for employees based in its Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea offices due in part to government restrictions. The company has more than 35 offices worldwide.

The social media giant said it will continue to pay contractors and hourly workers, who are not able to work from home, for their standard working hours while the working-from-home policy is in effect. 

It said it will also reimburse parents for any additional daycare costs they may face if their normal daycare closes due to COVID-19.

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It said employees will be paid back for the costs of setting up a home office, including home office equipment, such as desks, desk chairs, and ergonomic chair cushions, and that all interviews at Twitter will be done via video conferencing.

A number of tech giants have started to ask employees to work remotely because of the virus. Earlier this week Google advised staff in the US to work from home; Apple has also given staff in some offices the option of working remotely this week.