New York (CNN Business) – Elon Musk is requiring Tesla workers to return to work in person at offices or resign from the company.
The policy, revealed in leaked emails Musk sent to Tesla executive staff on Tuesday, was first reported by electric vehicle news site Electrek.
“Anyone who wants to work remotely needs to be in the office a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) 40 hours a week or get out of Tesla. This is less than what we are asking factory workers to do,” Musk wrote. He also added that the office should be the employee’s primary workplace, where they meet colleagues with whom they interact regularly: “not a remote branch office unrelated to their job duties.”
Musk said he would personally review any request for a waiver of the policy. But that, generally speaking, “if you don’t show up, we’ll assume you quit.”
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on the policy change. However, Musk appeared to confirm this in a tweet early Wednesday when asked on Twitter: “Hey Elon… any additional comments for people who think coming to work is an outdated concept?” The billionaire replied: “They should pretend they work somewhere else.”
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This policy contrasts sharply with that of another tech company that Musk is trying to buy: Twitter. The platform previously announced that employees can continue to work from home “forever” if they prefer. “Wherever you feel most productive and creative is where you will work. And that includes working from home full time forever,” CEO Parag Agrawal wrote in a note to Twitter’s nearly 100,000 employees in March. Just before Musk’s interest in acquiring the social network was revealed.
At Tesla, however, this will not be the case. It’s especially important for senior managers to be seen in the office, Musk said. And he added that was one of the reasons he essentially lived in the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, when the company was struggling to ramp up production in 2017 and 2018.
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“If he hadn’t done that, Tesla would have gone bankrupt a long time ago,” he said. “Of course, there are companies that do not need this. But when was the last time they shipped a great new product? Long time”.
He added: “Tesla has created and, in fact, will create and manufacture truly the most exciting and significant products of any company on Earth,” he added. “This will not happen if it is done over the phone.”
Surveys show that most office workers prefer the option of working from home.
Since offices reopened after the Covid-19 lockdowns, many companies, as well as Twitter, have announced greater flexibility for employees who want to work remotely. Partly as a way to retain or attract talent in a particularly competitive job market. But the richest person in the world doesn’t seem to care about that dynamic.
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