February 1, 2023

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Elon Musk tells employees to return to office or ‘pretend to work’ elsewhere

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Elon Musk, the Tesla chief executive, has asked employees to return to the office or “pretend to work somewhere else”, according to a memo sent to staff.

About 30% of US office workers are still working from home, according to Nick Bloom, a Stanford economics professor and co-founder of Working from Home Research Project. Many companies are moving to a hybrid work model where staff will come in two or three days a week.

But the world’s richest man has apparently soured on the idea of his executives working from home. In a memo headlined “Remote work is no longer acceptble” [sic], Musk wrote that “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.”

Neither Musk nor Tesla have confirmed that he sent the memo but in a reply to a Twitter follower asking for “​​additional comment to people who think coming into work is an antiquated concept”, Musk wrote: “They should pretend to work somewhere else.”

In the memo Musk said he would “review and approve” any cases where staff could not meet the minimum.

Tesla joins a wave of companies mandating a return to office for employees. While some big employers have embraced voluntary work-from-home policies permanently, others including Alphabet’s Google are betting that it is best to push in-person interactions among colleagues.

The news comes as Musk continues to pursue a takeover of Twitter, whose San Francisco office, he has suggested, could be turned into a “homeless shelter since no one show up anyway”.

The Twitter chief executive, Parag Agrawal, tweeted in March that Twitter offices would be reopening but…

Business Matters

2022-06-02 00:50:17

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