‘Come back to the office or resign’ Elon Musk tells Tesla staff, as the world’s richest man rejects remote working as a viable option going forward
Elon Musk has issued a blunt warning to all Tesla workers, telling them to return to the office full time or resign.
Electrek obtained copies of a couple of emails that Musk sent on Tuesday that made clear the consequences for Tesla staff if they did not return to the office.
Tesla, like many firms, had allowed remote working for every role where it was possible (i.e. non-factory workers) since the Covid-19 pandemic started in early 2020.
But now two years later as the pandemic eases, many companies are re-evaluating their remote working practices.
Other tech firms such as Facebook, Twitter and others, have decided to allow staff to choose whether to continue remote working full time, or opt for a hybrid working plan, or return full time.
But Electrek’s report has revealed that Elon Musk is rejecting any resistance from staff reluctant to return to the office, in emails with the subject title of “Remote work is no longer acceptable.”
“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,” Electrek quoted one of Musk’s emails. “This is less than we ask of factory workers.”
The CEO added that there might be some exceptions, but he will review and approve those himself, which is a good way to incentivise people not to ask for exceptions.
Musk in a follow email reminded staff that he set the example by sleeping in the factory.
“Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week,” he reportedly wrote in another email. “Moreover, the office must be where your actual colleagues are located, not some remote pseudo office. If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.”
“The more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence,” he wrote. “That 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.”
And then he hit at those companies in another email that still allow staff to do remote working.
“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 reported wrote.
Musk on Twitter then seemed to confirm the emails purportedly from him were genuine.
He replied to a tweet asking if he had any response to people who think coming into work is an antiquated concept.
“They should pretend to work somewhere else,” Musk replied.
They should pretend to work somewhere else
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2022
In April 2020 when Covid numbers were rising in California, Musk slammed the California lockdown and called it ‘fascist’ and ‘not democratic’.
He also said that authorities were effectively imprisoning people in their own homes.
Before the Calinfornia lockdown was officially lifted for essential businesses, Musk decided to press ahead and re-open the Fremont factory, which employs approximately 10,000 people.
But as Alameda County did not deem Tesla to be an essential business, Musk then got so angry he filed a lawsuit against the county in a San Francisco federal court.
He also threatened to move the Tesla factory out of California altogether, to either Texas or Nevada.
Musk then restarted production at the factory, and dared authorities to arrest him over the matter.
In May 2020 health officials at Alameda County tweeted that an agreement with Musk had been reached.
And Musk did not forget the incident, and has publicly criticised California on a number of occasions, slamming the US state for ‘overtaxation’ and ‘overegulation’ and ‘overlitigation’.
In December 2020, Musk announced he had personally left California after 20 years living in Los Angeles.
He sold his Bel Air homes and relocated to Texas.
Then in October 2021 Musk moved Tesla’s corporate headquarters to Texas, but left the Fremont factory up and running.