Elon Musk has told Tesla staff that if they do not return to their respective offices for at least 40 hours each week, they will be fired. According to The New York Times, similar emails were addressed to SpaceX.
In two different emails, Musk stated that employees must work at least 40 hours each week in a Tesla main office. In one of the emails, he stated, “If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.”
“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 said in the first email, according to Electrek. “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,” the email continued.
“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,” Musk wrote in the second email sent. He added that it’s important for senior employees to show their presence and said it’s why he “lived in the factory so much” and that, had he not, “Tesla would long ago have gone bankrupt.”
“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,” he added.
Responding to an inquiry about the leaked emails from a Twitter account known for promoting the CEO and Tesla, Musk said: “They should pretend to work somewhere else.”
The outspoken CEO is notorious for his high work expectations, particularly of manufacturing workers, who are pushed to fulfill extraordinarily aggressive output targets.
For example, during a rant during a corporate earnings call in April 2020, when Covid numbers were climbing in California, Musk termed health controls “fascist.” Despite health orders, he kept his company’s Fremont, California, plant running, with no ramifications from the state or Alameda County.
Other Big Tech firms aren’t yet requiring all employees to return to work. Employers like Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, and Meta allow at least some remote work, depending on the employees’ job and location, in an effort to retain talent amid the “Great Resignation.”
In contrast, some large software companies, such as Atlassian and Airbnb, now enable remote work all year.