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Former TikTok Employees Cite Long Work Hours And Depleting Mental Wellbeing

The world’s most popular social media platform has been linked to stressful work conditions. 

A new Wall Street Journal report shows that former TikTok employees experienced long hours and a cultural disconnect between the company’s U.S. and Chinese branches. 

The report revealed that some employees spent a startling 85 per week in meetings, leaving them little time for their actual work.  

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Along with that, some employees part of the Los Angeles team stated that they have been deprived of sleep due to late work hours and attending meetings with their colleagues in China. 

Because of the time difference, some employees reported working on weekends so they can catch up to their peers on the other side of the world by the time Monday rolls around. 

Inevitably, workers cited a decline in their mental wellbeing. For instance, one worker said the only way he was able to escape “back-to-back all-nighters” was to show his manager proof that he had a “potentially life-threatening condition.” 

Melody Chu, former senior product manager at TikTok, recently published an article series on Medium where she details how her work days went well into the evenings in order for her to meet with the company’s China-based employees.  

Chu added that the long hours even impacted her marriage, leading her to seek couples therapy due to the little time she could spend with her husband. 

China’s work culture is among the most strenuous in the world, with many professionals once abiding by a “996” schedule — that is working 9 am to 9 pm six days a week. However, the Chinese government banned this schedule last year. 

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance switched to a 63-hour workweek five days per week, which is still much longer than the average 40-hour workweeks normalized in the U.S. Employees revealed that many colleagues do not last long at the company due to the immense pressure to keep up with colleagues that share this work ethic.  

Although the social media platform is currently among the most popular, poor work culture has led other technology firms to face challenges in public scrutiny and employee retention. 


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