Elon Musk to Employees: ‘Remote Work is No Longer Acceptable’

Elon Musk to Employees: ‘Remote Work is No Longer Acceptable’
A leaked email from Musk says that executive employees can work remotely...after at least 40 hours of in-office work. (Photo: Win McNamee, Getty Images)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave his executive employees an ultimatum in an email yesterday: return to the office full time or leave the company.

A leaked email from Musk began circulating on Twitter today with the subject line reading “Remote work is no longer acceptble [sic].” The email — posted by Sam Nissim — was sent to “ExecStaff” on May 31, and explains that executive employees must be in Tesla’s office for a minimum of 40 hours per week. Any remote work must be done outside those hours. “This is less than we ask of factory workers,” the email reads, and Musk says that if full time in-office work isn’t possible for “particularly exceptional contributors,” then he will personally vet their situations and offer any approval accordingly.

When Whole Mars Catalogue asked Musk on Twitter for his opinion on those who think that a 40 hour in-office work week is an antiquated concept, Musk replied: “They should pretend to work somewhere else”

This email comes during a return to work migration for many companies in the wake of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, and some employees are not incredibly keen on a full time return to office. According to CNBC, 64% of surveyed workers would consider quitting if they were required to return to the office full time. Morning Consult also found that 3 out of 5 surveyed tech workers were not interested in returning to work. But managers don’t seem to be getting on board: Robert Half Talent Solutions found that 66% of surveyed senior managers in 2022 want employees back in the office full time, which is down from 71% in 2021.

The only problem is that productivity can actually be higher when employees are able to work from home as opposed to an office. Great Place to Work found that productivity improved when comparing a six-month stretch of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders in 2020 to the same time period in 2019. Prodoscore found similar results: a 47% increase in productivity in March/April 2020 when compared to March/April 2019.

With all that said, forcing employees to return-to-work (or quit their jobs) is relatively low on the totem pole of Musk’s recent business moves, most notably of which was a bid to purchase Twitter that has recently gotten him into some trouble with the SEC.