Tesla CEO Elon Musk has declared remote work “no longer acceptable,” according to new reports. Tesla employees who want to work from home will need to appeal to Musk directly.
“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,” Musk wrote in an email reprinted by Electrik. “This is less than we ask of factory workers.” (Bloomberg also excerpted portions of the email.)
In a follow-up email, Musk underscored his apparent belief that managers are most effective when they’re physically present. “The more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence,” he wrote. “This 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.”
He also couldn’t resist a swipe against tech companies allowing remote and hybrid work: “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.”
In a follow-up Tweet, Musk seemed to confirm the emails’ authenticity.
They should pretend to work somewhere else— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2022
If Musk succeeds in his effort to acquire Twitter, he’ll have an interesting situation on his hands, since the social-networking giant allows its employees to work remotely. In survey after survey over the past few years, technologists have indicated their overwhelming preference for remote and hybrid work—and given the insane demand for tech talent, they can afford to quit a job that doesn’t give them exactly what they want in terms of flexible schedules and work setups.
Recognizing the need to retain top talent, numerous tech companies (ranging from Google and Apple to Airbnb) have likewise embraced hybrid and/or remote work. Within these companies, managers and executives have made it clear that remote technologists are still expected to deliver their best work—but they can do so on their own schedule.