According to report, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has taken a hard line against his staff working from home. Employees must spend a minimum of 40 hours per week in the office or “depart Tesla,” according to an email sent to the company’s leadership team with the subject line “Remote work is no longer acceptable.” This should be a “main Tesla office,” not a “remote branch office,” according to him.
Musk did not deny the validity of the reported email, and added that anyone who disagrees with a policy of coming into the office “should pretend to work somewhere else,” in response to a screenshot of the supposed email sent to Twitter. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment from The Verge, although it is generally reported that the company’s press office has been closed.
In his email, the CEO also stated that, in some cases, he would be prepared to entertain requests to work remotely, but that such requests would have to be “exceptional” in order to be allowed. “If there are particularly exceptional contributors for whom this is impossible, I will review and approve those exceptions directly,” he added. He claims that working 40 hours in person is “less than we ask of factory workers.”
In a follow-up email seen by Electrek, the CEO claimed that the company’s survival was due to his own experience of nearly living in the Tesla factory. He wrote, “The more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence,” he wrote. “There are of course companies that don’t require this, but when was the last time they shipped a great new product? It’s been a while .”
Many organisations are now assessing how they should bring their staff back into the office, or whether they even need to in the first place, after the global pandemic drove many to quickly implement remote working rules. Some companies, such as Apple, are experimenting with a hybrid approach in which people come into the office only part of the week.
Tesla is a relative outlier in the so-called “new normal” because of its strong position. “If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned,” Musk wrote. On Electrek, you can read both of his emails in their entirety.