Finance

Remote work: Return to the office or resign, Elon Musk tells Tesla staff


The world’s richest man has given Tesla’s Executives an ultimatum to return to the office or forfeit their jobs. The Chief Executive Officer of Tesla Inc. weighed in on the return-to-office debate on Twitter by elaborating on an email he apparently sent on Tuesday to the company’s executive staff.

The subject of the email was  “Remote work is no longer acceptable”. In the email, the CEO maintained that “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.”

 The content of the mail went on to specify that 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.”

His stance on remote work was made even clearer through his response to a follower who asked him to address people who think going into work is an antiquated concept to which he responded. “They should pretend to work somewhere else.”

Musk’s tough management style

This is not the first time Elon Musk would show his tough management skills to his employees.

  • About two weeks before Musk reached a deal to acquire Twitter Inc., Keith Rabois, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist and entrepreneur, tweeted an anecdote that speaks to the billionaire’s management style.
  • At Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Musk once noticed a group of interns milling around while they waited in a line for coffee. According to Rabois, who knew the billionaire from their days at PayPal Holdings Inc., Elon Musk threatened to fire all the interns if it happened again, and had security cameras installed to monitor compliance.
  • Rabois wrote in April that employees at Twitter; one of the most prominent companies to allow permanent remote work, (of which Mr Musk is now a major shareholder) were “in for a rude awakening.” Musk’s apparent email to Tesla’s executive staff suggests that he may decide to put an end to remote work at Twitter as well.
  • The reference to Tesla factory workers in the mail also shines a light at the situation of the electric car makers plant in Shanghai. Tesla’s Shanghai workers are kept isolated even as the country’s lockdown eases.
  • Thousands of Tesla staff have been effectively locked in for months, working 12-hour shifts, six days a week, and according to a report by Bloomberg, until recently, many were sleeping on the factory floor as part of a closed-loop system meant to keep Covid out and cars rolling off the production line.
  • Workers who are brought in to the factory to speed up the work process are being shuttled between the facility and their sleeping quarters, which are either disused factories or an old military camp., with day and night shift workers sharing beds in makeshift dorms.
  • The management method may not be agreeable to all, but it produces results as the electric car maker is arguably the topmost electric car maker in the world.



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