TikTok Mandates App for Tracking In-Person Attendance of Many US Employees

Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, implemented a custom data-collection tool for tracking in-person office attendance in the United States and issued warnings of disciplinary action for non-compliance with the new in-person mandates, in a move to bring employees back to the office, according to a New York Times report in September 2023.


The app, MyRTO, which has been integrated into the company’s internal software, monitors badge swipes and requires explanations for “deviations”, which are absences on designated in-office days. 


The data collected from the app is accessible through a dashboard visible to employees, their supervisors, and human resource staff members.


The action was intended to set clear expectations for employees’ in-office attendance, with a primary focus on improving clarity, context, and transparent communication related to their Return to Office (RTO) expectations and schedules, according to TikTok spokesperson.


However, TikTok’s workers expressed surprise and disappointment at the move which serves as a constant reminder of the company monitoring their daily locations. 


Additional Information:


  • Despite pandemic-driven growth, TikTok faced challenges reintegrating its dispersed workforce into physical offices in cities like Los Angeles, Washington, and New York.
  • In August 2023, New York employees were told a lunch stipend would be linked to an app, necessitating an office check-in for fund access. 
  • In October 2023, TikTok mandated its roughly 7,000 U.S. employees to work in offices three times a week, with some teams expected five days a week, with disciplinary action in place and impact on performance reviews.
  • During the summer and fall of 2023, tech companies urging employees to return to the office, like Zoom and Meta, faced resistance, with Amazon’s corporate employees staging a walkout in May 2023 in protest of such policies.
  • Some companies are stepping up enforcement, planning to monitor badge swipes to ensure employees meet in-office requirements. Google, for instance, requiring most employees to be in the office three days a week, intends to use badge swipes to identify extended absences, possibly impacting performance reviews.
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