Permanent move to online could have consequences

By Vanessa Ramos

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey informed employees that they have the option of working from home permanently, even after lockdown of stay-at-home orders, as long as employees’ roles enable them. Twitter is shifting to going fully virtual and has wanted to reach its emphasis of supporting a distributed workforce capable of working from anywhere. 

The trend of virtual working from home and learning from home has developed a change in the way that tech culture is thinking about moving forward for their softwares. In early March, Twitter began to allow employees to work from home. Tech companies encouraging this tactic include Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. “Google and Facebook are allowing work from home until the end of 2020, while Amazon and Microsoft extended policies until the end of October,” reported Forbes. Twitter is the first media company to encourage employees to choose to work from home for good. 

Twitter’s San Francisco-based will not open up its offices before September and continues to cancel business travel and in-person company events for the rest of the year. Tech roles such as programming, software design, and editorials all can be transferred to remote working at home.

Twitter’s media employees may not have major difficulty in transitioning, those who may have challenges noted by Peter Richardson, Research Director for Counterpoint Research,  are individuals that are not accustomed to working virtually at home. Coordination of working remotely in a team will be different, especially if new team members are undertraining on a new operating system. Security risk can be created if connecting from a home broadband that is not secured by an anti-virus security system.

On a long term prospect, challenges for employees come down to not being able to physically interact with staff. Socializing in the office will transcend to online connection which can challenge the office space culture of in-person meetings. The long term distance from being in the office like setting can impact organizations’ culture of working as a team. “Being socially connected is our brain’s lifelong passion,” said Mattew Lieberman, a professor of psychology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science and a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral science at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Socializing with colleagues physically can broaden instant creativity, building ideas off each other in the office will never compare to working home alone waiting for group respondents.

As virtual work culture arises under COVID-19 pandemic, companies like Twitter will need to adapt three tech strategies to grow in response to the shift of permanently working from home  according to Business Insider: more virtual conferencing, cloud-based productivity suites like software or creativity suites that accelerates growth during the transition and secure networking solutions.

For instance, Mobile hotspots and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) can help make transitioning to remote work more streamlined, practical, and secure. By mid-April, the daily number of cyberattacks reported to the FBI had increased by up to 400% since the onset of the pandemic, according to a report from April reported by The Hill.

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