TikTok is tracking employee back-to-office attendance with new internal tool called MyRTO


TikTok, the popular social media platform, has expanded its tracking practices beyond just user locations. According to The New York Times, the company has developed an internal software called MyRTO to monitor and enforce its return-to-office policy. This software tracks employees' badge swipes when entering the office and requires them to explain any deviations from expected in-person attendance.

Last October, TikTok implemented an in-person attendance policy, mandating that US-based employees come to the office at least three times a week as COVID-19 concerns diminished. Insider previously reported that the company even threatened to fire employees whose home address did not match their assigned office address.

TikTok has faced criticism in the past for its surveillance practices, leading to bans in several countries. Forbes had reported that their Chinese parent company, ByteDance, intended to track Americans using GPS information collected through the app. This recent development of internal tracking software aims to provide clarity and context to both employees and leaders regarding return-to-office expectations and in-office schedules. ByteDance claims that the software will help facilitate transparent communication within the company.

Although productivity-monitoring software has become increasingly prevalent for remote and hybrid workers across various industries, some employees are unhappy with the push to return to the office. Tech companies that enforce such mandates have seen walk-outs and resignations as employees value the flexibility of remote work as a significant benefit. Experts, such as Prithwiraj Choudhury from Harvard Business School, argue that allowing flexibility expands the talent pool and prevents skilled employees from being poached by competitors.

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