New York (CNN Business) – Elon Musk is asking Tesla workers to return to work in person in offices or to resign from the company.
The policy, which was revealed in leaked emails Musk sent to Tesla executives on Tuesday, was first reported by electric vehicle news site Electric.
Musk wrote, “Anyone who wants to work remotely must be in the office a minimum of 40 hours a week (and I mean *minimum*) or leave Tesla. That’s less than we’re asking factory workers to do.” He added that the office should be the employee’s main workplace, where they regularly meet colleagues with whom they deal: “not a remote branch that has nothing to do with their job duties.”
Musk said he would personally review any request to waive the policy. But that’s, in general, “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 seems to confirm this in a tweet Earlier this Wednesday when asked on Twitter: “Hi Elon..any additional comments for people who think coming to work is an outdated concept?” And the billionaire replied: “They have to pretend they are working elsewhere.”
This policy contrasts sharply with the other tech company that Musk is trying to buy: Twitter. The platform previously announced that employees can continue to work from home “forever” if they wish. “Wherever you feel most productive and creative is where you will be working. This includes working from home full time forever,” CEO Parag Agrawal wrote In a note to nearly 100,000 Twitter employees in March. Before Musk’s interest in acquiring the social network was revealed live.
However, this would not be the case at Tesla. Musk said it’s especially important for senior managers to appear in the office. He added that this was one of the reasons why he basically lived in a Tesla plant in Fremont, California, when the company was struggling to increase production in 2017 and 2018.
“If he hadn’t done that, Tesla would have gone bankrupt a long time ago,” he said. “Of course, there are companies that don’t need this. But when was the last time you shipped a great new product? A long time ago.”
“Tesla has innovated, and in fact will innovate and manufacture the most exciting and important products for any company on Earth,” he added. “This wouldn’t happen if it was done over the phone.”
Surveys show that most office workers prefer the option of working from home.
Since offices reopened after the Covid-19 shutdown, many companies, as well as Twitter, have announced greater flexibility for employees who want to work remotely. Partly as a means of retaining or attracting talent in a particularly competitive job market. But it seems that the richest person in the world does not care about this dynamic.