Go back to the office or get out

Elon Musk's ultimatum to Tesla management: Go back to the office or leave

This is not the first time that Elon Musk’s staff has been treated harshly.

The richest man in the world seems to have done it with this whole working-from-home business.

Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Inc., became embroiled in an office-to-office debate on Twitter, detailing an email he explicitly sent to electric-car maker executives on Tuesday.

Under the subject line “Remote work is no longer acceptable” [sic]”Anyone wishing to work remotely must stay in the office for at least 40 hours per week (and I mean * minimum *) or leave Tesla. This is no less than factory workers,” Musk wrote.

The CEO went on to point out that the office “must be a major Tesla office, not a remote branch office unrelated to job responsibilities, for example responsible for the human relations of the Fremont factory, but your office being in another state.”

Although Musk did not directly address whether the email was genuine, he strongly suggested that it be in response to a follower asking him to address people who think working is an old idea. “They should pretend to work somewhere else,” he replied.

This is not the first time that Musk has been hard-working with his staff.

About two weeks before Musk reached an agreement for the acquisition of Twitter Inc., Silicon Valley venture capitalist and entrepreneur Keith Rabois tweeted an anecdote that speaks to his friend’s management style. While waiting in line for coffee at Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, Musk once saw a group of interns gather around him.

Kasturi sees this as an insult to productivity. According to Rabois, who has known Musk since their days at PayPal Holdings Inc., Musk threatened to fire all interns if it happened again, and installed security cameras to monitor compliance.

Rabois wrote in April that Twitter’s staff – one of the leading organizations in allowing permanent remote work – was “in a state of disarray.” Musk’s explicit email to Tesla executives suggests that Twitter’s policy will change once he takes office.

The mention of Tesla factory workers is also interesting in light of the situation at the car manufacturer’s factory in Shanghai.

There, thousands of workers have been effectively locked in for months, working 12-hour shifts six days a week. Until recently, many were sleeping on the factory floor as part of a closed-loop system that meant keeping cars out of the closet and shutting down production lines.

Workers brought in to get the factory back on track and locked up in their sleeping quarters – either an unused factory or an old military camp – where day and night shift workers share beds in temporary dorms.

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