Although data scientists say that remote working — which surged after Covid hit two years ago — is here to stay, according to Forbes, Elon Musk is having none of it. In fact, in leaked email (see below), the Tesla CEO told his staff they can either come back to the office or quit.
"Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week. Moreover, the office must be where your actual colleagues are located, not some remote pseudo office. If you don't show up, we will assume you have resigned," he said in one of two emails, first published by Electrek.
In a Twitter response to the leaked email, Musk didn't deny it, but instead offered a simple solution for employees who don't, for whatever reason, feel comfortable working at the Tesla office: "They should pretend to work somewhere else."
Tesla initially allowed employees to work from home if they felt unsafe working in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, but reversed course—defying county orders in California—and ramped up production at a Tesla factory in May 2020. Musk came under fire when he said employees who did not return to work would be fired a month later. Tech companies are weighing how to bring employees back to the office, with Google and Apple starting hybrid options. Musk weighed in on Apple's policy last month, sharing a lazy dog meme in response to an article on Apple delaying return to the office.
Here are Musk's leaked emails, from Electrek:
Subject: Remote work is no longer acceptble
Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla. This is less than we ask of factory workers.
If there are particularly exceptional contributors for whom this is impossible, I will review and approve those exceptions directly.
Moreover, the "office" must be a main Tesla office, not a remote branch office unrelated to the job duties, for example being responsible for Fremont factory human relations, but having your office be in another state.
Subject: To be super clear
Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week. Moreover, the office must be where your actual colleagues are located, not some remote pseudo office. If you don't show up, we will assume you have resigned.
The more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence. That is why I lived in the factory so much – so that those on the line could see me working alongside them. If I had not done that, Tesla would long ago have gone bankrupt.
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.
Tesla has and will create and actually manufacture the most exciting and meaningful products of any company on Earth. This will not happen by phoning it in.