TikTok makes US employees return to office, track office attendance using app 

Big brother is watching you.

Julia Yee | September 16, 2023, 06:42 PM



TikTok employees in the U.S. are not too pleased with the company's decision to tighten return-to-office (RTO) measures.

Back during the Covid-19 pandemic, the social media company expanded significantly but has since struggled to wean its workforce move off their work-from-home habits.

In an effort to pull more people back into office chairs, TikTok has come up with a way to monitor their locations by requiring them to check in and out of the office.

Like marking attendance at school.

Badge swipes

Employees at TikTok offices in the U.S. were recently acquainted with an app called MyRTO.

The app records when they swipe their badge and asks employees to explain “deviations”, which refer to absences on compulsory RTO days, reported The New York Times.

A dashboard is said to display the data to employees, their supervisors, and human resource staff members.

Could impact performance reviews

Beyond the "transparency" of movement to and from the office, the new attendance checking system also heralds a more stringent penalty for not complying with RTO rules.

Employees were told that “any deliberate and consistent disregard may result in disciplinary action” and could “impact on performance reviews".

From the start of October 2023, TikTok will require many of its estimated 7,000 U.S. employees to work in offices three times a week, revealed The New York Times.

Some teams are expected to be in five days a week.

Speaking to the U.S. newspaper, anonymous sources from the TikTok office deplored the disciplinarian tone of the messaging and the display of the MyRTO dashboard.

They said that it is a constant reminder that one's daily whereabouts are being tracked by the Chinese company.

Employees have a problem with it

Jodi Seth, a spokeswoman for TikTok, told The New York Times that the system is meant to better set RTO expectations.

Employees received an email introduction to MyRTO, with TikTok dubbing it “the next suite of tools and information for both employees and leaders to better allocate time spent in the office optimising collaboration".

But despite the company's positive assessment of the system, employees still appeared to disapprove of it.

One worker told the paper that while being present in person at work is important, they did not think that TikTok needed to resort to using an app or threats.

This worker added that their colleagues are now afraid of the consequences should they fail to comply.

But for TikTok's workers in Singapore, don't worry, at least it's only happening in the U.S.

For now.

Related story

Top images via TikTok and Mashable