Elon likes workers to be tied to their desks (at his offices)
Fierce memos warn work-at-home fans that they will be fired if they're no-shows.
(A native of England, Matthew Diebel is a veteran journalist who has worked at NBC News, Time, USA Today and News Corp., among other organizations. Having spent his childhood next to one of the world's fastest bodies of water, he is particularly interested in tidal energy.)
Work from home? Great, many high-tech companies have said. We won’t have to pay for offices and — as we reported last month — employees will pollute less by cutting their commutes.
But not according to Tesla (TSLA) titan Elon Musk, who greeted employees returning from Memorial Day with a series of emails saying that they must be at their office desks at least 40 hours a week or they would be fired.
“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,” the controversial boss said in messages leaked to Electrek. “This is less than we ask of factory workers.”
Talking of factories, Musk reminded employees in a follow-up email (subject line: “To be super clear”) that he embodied the work-at-work ethic by having slept in one of his manufacturing plants, even claiming that his nocturnal habits saved the company.
“The more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence,” he intoned. “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 also said he will be on the lookout for workers trying to use creative workarounds. “[T]he ‘office’ must be a main Tesla office,” he said, “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.” And then there was this: “[T]he 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 emails had employees at Twitter (TWTR), which Musk has being attempting to buy, well, all a-twitter, because the policy is the exact opposite of the bosses at the social media giant. “Wherever you feel most productive and creative is where you will work and that includes working from home full-time forever,” Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal wrote to his nearly 100,000 employees in March, just before Musk made his play for the platform.
As for Musk’s employees spewing CO₂ on their commutes, we’re guessing most of them drive Teslas, so there goes that argument for staying at home.