The richest man in the world has reportedly told staff to leave the company if they don’t follow a new rule.
Elon Musk has threatened his senior executives, reportedly telling them they can “leave Tesla” if they don’t return to the office full-time.
The world’s richest man’s dictation came in a leaked email that he later appeared to confirm was genuine. He responded to a tweet questioning the plan, saying that employees who don’t want to come back to the office for at least 40 hours a week “should pretend to work elsewhere”.
In the past months, Musk has railed against what he sees as a poor work ethic in the US, despite the average American working longer hours than most first world countries.
The Tesla chief praised Chinese workers for “burning the 3 a.m. oil.”
Musk’s email to Tesla executives
On Tuesday, a Twitter account in the name of Sam Nissim tweeted a screenshot of what appeared to be an email from Musk to his executives.
“Anyone who wants to work remotely must be in the office or leave Tesla for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours a week,” the email reads.
“This is less than we ask of factory workers.”
If a five-day workweek of eight hours a day equals 40 hours, there would be little time left to actually work from home.
“If there are any particularly exceptional contributors for whom this is impossible, I will review and approve these exceptions directly,” the email continued.
In addition, the office must be a Tesla headquarters, not an outside branch unrelated to the duties.
The email used the example of a human resources manager for the Tesla plant in Fremont, near San Francisco. For example, it would be unacceptable for them to do their work outside of Fremont, Musk said.
It was not clear whether the email demanded only executives to return to the office or them and all their staff as well.
The original post was retweeted by an account called Whole Mars Catalog, asking, “Hey Elon, another note for people who think work is an outdated concept?”
“They should pretend they work elsewhere,” Musk replied early Wednesday morning, though he didn’t directly confirm the email was authentic.
The US has some of the loosest workplace laws in the developed world. Most employees can be fired for no reason, the only option for the employee would be to prove that his dismissal was motivated by discrimination, for example if he was fired because of his race, gender, disability or sexuality.
Tesla could thereby largely get rid of staff who do not return to work for 40 hours a week.
Musk’s swipe at American workers
Last month, Musk scoffed at Americans’ work ethic in a discussion at a conference on the future of cars hosted by the British newspaper the Financial times†
“There are just a lot of super talented and hard-working people in China who strongly believe in manufacturing,” he told the FT†
“And they won’t just burn the midnight oil. They will burn the oil from 3am. So they won’t even leave the factory type.
“While in America people try to avoid going to work.”
In April it turned out Tesla workers at the Shanghai factory would sleep in the factory for several weeks due to the city’s strict lockdown.
Workers at the factory in China were reportedly given a sleeping bed and mattress to sleep on.
It was part of a “closed loop” system designed to isolate personnel from the outside world so that production could be ramped up.
It is alleged that Musk has been seen sleeping in Tesla facilities in the past. He was dozing under desks and even on the factory floor itself.
In 2018, he told the podcast Recode Decode that when the Tesla Model 3 car was produced, it would work seven days a week and “sleep a few hours, work a few hours.”
He said he sometimes worked 120 hours. So with 168 hours in a week, there would be less than seven hours a day off.
But he didn’t recommend normalizing 120-hour weeks, he said.
“You get a little crazy if you work 120 hours a week”.
Just 40 hours in the office is enough.
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