“They should make it look like they work somewhere else.” Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla TSLA, -0.18%, said that in response to a leaked email to the company’s executive staff that said “Remote work is no longer acceptable.”
“Anyone who wants to work from home must be in the office at least (and I mean “at least”) 40 hours a week or they have to leave Tesla. This is less than what we ask of factory workers,” the May 31 email from “Elon” said.
He said that unusual situations would be looked at by him directly, but he also said that higher-ups couldn’t go to the Tesla office that was most convenient for them.
“Also, the ‘office’ must be a main Tesla office, not a remote branch office that has nothing to do with the job duties,” the note said. For example, if you were in charge of human resources at the Fremont factory, but your office was in another state, you would not be allowed to work there. MarketWatch asked Tesla to confirm the email, but as of the time of publication, they had not replied.
Since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago, other companies have had a hard time getting their employees back. However, it seems like Musk doesn’t see much value in letting his employees go back to work. Even though data show that productivity went up during lockdowns and working from home may not be as bad for productivity as he thinks.
A study from the Texas A&M University School of Public Health that came out last month found the same thing. Nicholas Bloom, a professor at Stanford University, led another study that showed workers are more productive if they can work from home at least some of the time.
Even though it’s not clear if Tesla workers are ready to stand up, big companies are still struggling to get all their workers back in a tight U.S. job market, where COVID-19 is still spreading.
Read: Get ready for the Big Fight. Companies and employees are fighting over who should go back to work first.
In the first few months of the pandemic, the entrepreneur who started Tesla was criticised because the company told workers they could stay home if they felt unsafe because of COVID-19. Later, the company changed its mind and said that anyone who didn’t come back to work would be fired.
Between May and December 2020, when Tesla reopened against the advice of health officials, there were hundreds of cases of COVID.
Its most recent results, which were released in April, were way better than expected. Despite factory shutdowns in China and ongoing problems with the supply chain, the company made close to $19 billion in sales. In spite of COVID outbreaks, Tesla is still working to get its factories in Shanghai up to full speed. So far this year, shares of the company have dropped by 28%.
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