TikTok Warns It Could Fire Remote Workers

TikTok is cracking down on flexibility options, joining plenty of other tech companies that don't want remote workers.

Employees working remotely for the social platform TikTok have received a warning: Don’t live too far away from a physical TikTok office, or you might get fired.

US workers’ listed home addresses must be near their assigned office, or job termination is one of many disciplinary actions they might face, the new regulation says.

In short, TikTok is cracking down on remote work. Working from home is a hot-button topic in and outside the tech industry in 2023: Employees received unprecedented flexiblity in the wake of the Covid pandemic’s start in 2020, and companies have been trying to put the genie back in the bottle ever since.

TikTok to Employees: Go Home or Go Away

Employees were informed through the short-form video platform’s internal communication system, Lark, The Information reports.

This isn’t the first warning they’ve been given: TikTok was already pushing for a return to the office with mandates issued last year, demanding employees move close enough to their offices to come into work twice a week. The deadline was January 1st, so TikTok’s new regulations are likely a response to those who haven’t yet complied.

Interestingly, these multiple internal memos don’t appear to have made their way onto the platform’s career website, which has a relatively positive (though non-committal) response on its FAQ page to the question “Can I work remotely?”

“It varies by region and depends on the specific job requirements. You may apply first and further communicate with HR during the interview process.” ~TikTok FAQ page

The Work Flexibility Backlash

TikTok’s stance isn’t unusual. Companies from Twitter to Disney and Snap have rolled back their remote work polices, while larger tech companies like Google and Apple have gone back and forth with employees on the best policy compromise.

Different employees might function best at home or in the office, but the benefits of fully remote work are undeniable.

Putting aside health and productivity, both of which studies show tend to improve among remote workers, an entirely remote option makes for a more inclusive workplace, aiding those with disabilities or any other responsibilities that make a commute difficult (and it’s worth noting that TikTik’s track record with discrimation is far from spotless).

However, plenty of other companies are offering an increasing amount of remote positions — we’ve rounded up a few options in one resource we’re keeping regularly updated.

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Written by:
Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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