Tesla CEO Elon Musk has delivered an ultimatum to employees: Return to the office full time or be let go.
Mr. Musk’s demand was revealed in a collection of emails leaked to the press on Tuesday.
“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,” one email from Mr. Musk read.
In another email, Mr. Musk said that he would personally review any requests to continue to work from home but made it clear that he is against a work-from-home environment for Tesla.
“The more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence. 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.”
He responded to a Twitter user who asked for comment on the policy laid out in the leaked emails, tweeting: “They should pretend to work somewhere else.”
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“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.”
Mr. Musk has been openly critical of stay-at-home orders and the work-from-home culture since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. In an interview with the Financial Times, he complained about the American work ethic, saying that “in America, people are trying to avoid going to work at all.”
In May 2020, he began openly feuding with Alameda County officials in California for their stay-at-home order, which culminated in Mr. Musk threatening to move production to a state with more relaxed pandemic policies. In December 2021, Tesla officially moved its headquarters to Texas.
Mr. Musk’s openly hostile attitude toward a work-from-home model is the opposite of the social media giant Twitter, which he is in the process of buying. Twitter has a permanent telework model that was enacted by then-CEO Jack Dorsey during the peak of the pandemic.
That policy was reinforced in March when current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal told employees that, despite Twitter officially reopening its offices, employees are allowed to work wherever they feel most “productive and creative.”
However, Twitter employees face a potential change in workplace policy if Mr. Musk takes over. Last month, shortly after he made his intentions to purchase Twitter public, he tweeted that if the sale were to go through, “work ethic expectations would be extreme, but much less than I demand of myself.”