Elon Musk tells Tesla executives to get back to the office

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SAN FRANCISCO — Elon Musk appears to be telecommuting.

The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX sent an email to employees of both companies on Tuesday saying everyone must spend 40 hours a week in the office.

“If you don’t show up, we’ll assume you quit,” according to an email to Tesla workers, which was put onlinethe content of which was confirmed to the Washington Post by a Tesla employee who spoke on condition of anonymity because the message was internal.

“The older you are, the more your presence should be visible. … Sure, there are companies that don’t require this, but when was the last time they shipped a great new product? Musk wrote in the email.

Musk sent a similar email to SpaceX workers, which was obtained by The Post.

Another similar email sent to Tesla executives, with the subject line “Remote work is no longer acceptable”, was shared on Twitter by a Tesla investor, and re-shared by another account.

Elon Musk, the Twitter deal and his quest to save “all life on Earth”

Musk responded to a tweet asking what he would say to people who think coming to work is an “outdated concept”, and appeared to confirm the email from management.

“They should pretend to work somewhere else,” he replied.

Musk said in one of his emails to Tesla employees that he would manually approve remote work exceptions for “particularly exceptional contributors,” though he didn’t explain that category further.

The Tesla worker who spoke to The Post said some groups of employees expect to continue to be exempt from returning to the office. Tesla is recruiting heavily from Silicon Valley’s vast pool of software engineers – workers who have enjoyed benefits such as free meals and flexible working. Some felt that their status would not change.

Musk’s tough remote work policies run counter to the work culture of social media company Twitter, which the billionaire is trying to buy for around $44 billion. That deal is expected to close later this year, and already tensions between employees are running high over the upcoming management change.

Twitter was one of the first major companies in 2020 to announce that workers could continue to work from home – forever. The company is known for its flexible workplace where employees regularly work from home, the office or on the go.

Americans may never return to the office, and Twitter is leading the charge.

Musk’s companies are best known for their rigid, process-based workplaces. The contractor pushed back shelter-in-place orders in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, but told employees they could stay home if they felt uncomfortable.

Yet two Tesla workers said at the time that they received layoff notices alleging a “no return to work” after choosing to take unpaid leave in May 2020.

And in Shanghai this week, Tesla told factory workers they should remain isolated at the facilities to prevent the virus from spreading, according to Bloomberg News.

In his email to Tesla executives, Musk called on managers to return to the office 40 hours a week.

“It’s less than what we ask of factory workers,” he wrote.

About Robert Pierson

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