TikTok has reportedly rattled its US employees by mandating the use of an internal app called “MyRTO” to track office attendance — and warning of consequences for those who fall short of the requirement.
The company, which is owned by China-based ByteDance, sent out notices last week about the app, which will track office badge swipes as TikTok prepares to enact a three-day-per-week minimum attendance requirement in October, the New York Times reported, citing interviews with impacted employees.
Some workers have reportedly “expressed frustration and dismay” over TikTok’s policy, which also will require employees to explain their “deviations” from the requirement.
Employees were warned that “any deliberate and consistent disregard may result in disciplinary action” and could “impact on performance reviews,” the report said. Each worker’s office badge data will be viewable by their supervisor and HR staffers.
TikTok staffers were reportedly “taken aback” by the strict tone of the communications about the return-to-office policy, as well as its use of a dedicated app to track their time spent at a company desk.
One employee, who spoke to the New York Times under condition of anonymity, said the company’s use of “the app and threats of punishment were unnecessary, and that colleagues were now fearful about the consequences of failing to comply.”
“The ultimate goal of MyRTO is to provide greater clarity and context to both employees and leaders regarding their RTO expectations and in-office schedules, and help foster more transparent communications,” TikTok spokeswoman Jodi Seth said in a statement about the app.
The Post has reached out to TikTok for comment.
The company has roughly 7,000 US employees and offices in several major cities, including New York and Los Angeles.
Any internal backlash over the return-to-office push could create another headache for TikTok, which has scrambled to avoid a potential US ban in recent months.
Lawmakers from both parties have alleged that TikTok poses a national security risk, allows the spread of harmful content among teen users and provides the Chinese Communist Party with improper access to the sensitive personal data of millions of Americans.
The company has denied wrongdoing and taken steps to assuage concerns on Capitol Hill, including a pledge to shift all US data to servers managed by Oracle.
As The Post reported, the push for a US ban on TikTok appears to have cooled ahead of the 2024 election as the company embarked on a charm offensive, including a series of patriotic commercials.
TikTok is one of many tech firms that have rankled employees by enacting office attendance requirements.
The LGBTQ dating app Grindr has lost nearly half its workforce as staffers quit after the company required them to relocate to a hub office and work onsite two days per week.
The workers say the requirement was actually a retaliatory measure after they signaled plans to unionize.
Elsewhere, Amazon has faced fierce internal criticism over its return-to-work plan, even as CEO Andy Jassy warns that workers who fall short of the requirement are unlikely to have a future at the company.