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Elon Musk demanded Tesla staff return to the office – but it has gone wrong already, report says

Mr Musk banned remote work and said employees must be in the office for a minimum of 40 hours per week

Adam Smith
Wednesday 29 June 2022 15:59 BST
Elon Musk’s Remote Work Warning For Tesla and SpaceX Staff
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Tesla was unprepared for employees’ return to office mandated by chief executive Elon Musk, according to reports.

Employees suffered from a lack of parking spaces, a shortage of desks, and inadequate Wi-Fi, The Information reported.

Mr Musk had previously banned remote work. “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,” he wrote. “This is less than we ask of factory workers.”

In a follow-up email Mr Musk wrote: “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.”

During the pandemic many Tesla employees had been conducting their work from home, with the number of employees doubling since the start of COVID measures. Some employees had to spend hours travelling to the company’s office in Fremont, California.

In a recent interview, Mr Musk said that Tesla’s value is based on whether it can develop self-driving technology.

Mr Musk added that the feature was “essential. It’s really the difference between Tesla being worth a lot of money or worth basically zero”.

The company has also had a “very tough quarter” according to leaked emails from the chief executive.

Mr Musk’s other venture, SpaceX, recently fired employees who wrote an open letter criticising the behaviour of Elon Musk.

“Elon’s behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks,” the letter states.

“As our CEO and most prominent spokesperson, Elon is seen as the face of SpaceX — every Tweet that Elon sends is a de facto public statement by the company. It is critical to make clear to our teams and to our potential talent pool that his messaging does not reflect our work, our mission, or our values.”

In response, the company “terminated a number of employees involved” with the letter.

Tesla and SpaceX did not respond to requests for comment from The Independent.

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