Elon Musk has reportedly declared that remote work at Tesla is “no longer acceptable”
The spread and acceptance of work-from-home is one of the most significant changes to working that has occurred as a result of the pandemic. Elon Musk, the billionaire inventor and businessman, appears to have declared war on it.
Musk recently sent two emails to “everyone” at Tesla requiring employees to work at least “40 hours per week” in the office. If someone doesn’t, Musk and his team will assume that the person has resigned.
Here are the details of the two emails:
“Subject: 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. 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.
Moreover, the “office” must be a main Tesla office, 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.
“Subject: To be super clear
Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week. 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. 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.
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.
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.
Musk has recently received a lot of praise for Tesla’s employees in China. Americans, he claims, are “trying to avoid work at all costs,” whereas the Chinese are “burning the 3 a.m. oil.” However, the reality is bleaker.
Thousands of workers in Shanghai have been trapped for months. They work six days a week for 12-hour shifts. In fact, until recently, the workers had to sleep on the factory floor in order to keep the system closed-loop. Tesla did this to ensure that Covid remains out while production rates remain constant.
However, things have recently improved slightly. An additional workforce has been assigned to restore normal production speeds. Nonetheless, they do not have much spare time. Outside of the factory and sleeping quarters, they spend their time being shuttled between the two facilities.
The sleeping quarters are improvised dorms where day and night-shift employees alternate and share beds. They are either abandoned military camps or abandoned factories.
Keith Rabois, a capitalist and entrepreneur friend of Musk’s, tweeted an interesting anecdote about Musk’s tough stance:
Musk has previously stated that he spends the majority of his time at work. However, in today’s world, Tesla’s traditional approach stands out as an outlier when other major tech companies, such as Apple, are experimenting with hybrid operating systems.