When Covid-19 hit, work from home (WFH) arrangements became the norm for those with jobs that allowed them to do so. Now that the pandemic is receding into the background, more people are returning to the office or are now on hybrid work arrangements.
Tesla and SpaceX founder, Elon Musk, however, doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of remote work.
In a leaked email that he apparently sent to Tesla employees, Musk announced that anyone who wants to do remote work must be in the office for at least 40 hours a week.
The 50-year-old followed up by saying that not showing up at the office will be considered a sign of resignation.
On Wednesday (1 Jun), a leaked email that Musk had apparently sent the day before started circulating online. Reuters has confirmed its authenticity with two sources.
In the message, which has the misspelt subject header “Remote work is no longer acceptble (sic)”, Musk tells Tesla’s executive staff that those who wish to do remote work can only do so after spending at least 40 hours in the office a week.
The alternative is to “depart Tesla”. Musk then reminded them that this is less than what is required of factory workers.
He goes on to say that if there are “particularly exceptional contributors for whom this is impossible”, he will personally review and approve those cases.
Musk later sent another email reiterating the requirement for staff to spend at least 40 hours in the office per week.
This one included a warning — if someone doesn’t show up at the office, it will be taken as an indication that they have resigned.
He then stressed that those in more senior positions should have a more visible presence.
“That is why I lived in the factory so much — so that those on the line could see me working alongside them,” he wrote. “If I had not done that, Tesla would long ago have gone bankrupt.”
Taking a dig at other companies that allow remote work, he questioned, “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.
In response to a Twitter user asking him to comment on those who think coming into work is an outdated concept, Musk replied, “They should pretend to work somewhere else”.
Judging from comments on Facebook, some users are supportive of Musk’s strict stance, while others disagree with it.
Those who agree with him believe that as long as they’re under a company’s payroll, they should be going back to the office to work. They also pointed out that there are countless others who would do anything to “work their butts off” for Musk.
Many also said that since Musk is the boss, it’s up to him to make the rules.
On the other hand, there are those who slammed the move, calling it “a good way to lose good talent” and an attempt to control others and breathe down their necks.
Others shared their own positive experiences working from home, saying that it helps them be more productive and saves their companies money in building rental fees.
The pandemic has indeed proven that remote work is completely possible and even beneficial for some folks.
While it’s true that Musk does have the right to decide what his employees can and cannot do, perhaps it would be a better idea to allow them more flexibility depending on their job scopes.
Then again, we certainly aren’t going to be the ones telling the richest man in the world how to run his highly successful company.
What are your thoughts on Musk’s WFH stance? Sound out in the comments section below.
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Featured image adapted from Nora Tam/South China Morning Post/Getty Images via CNBC.
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There will also be plenty of fun activities for the whole family.