Yesterday, we wrote our blog about how Elon Musk is looking to add a dining drive-in experience to his charging stations. But it seems like that's not the only thing that he's trying to bring to fruition. In a letter penned to his employees at Tesla, he demanded that they return to office, saying that people are quote on quote “pretending to work and unproductive.” Now, as you can imagine, people were not exactly receptive to this letter. I mean, would you be?
Imagine how the employee who's working remotely feels when their CEOs tells them that they're pretending to work when in reality, they're working daunting hours trying to get things done.
Not only did Musk throw out these accusations but he also gave them an ultimatum. Either they return to work in-person or they leave the company. In this leaked email he's quoted saying “ anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum of 40 hours per week or depart from Tesla. This is less than we asked the factory workers. If you don't show up we will assume you have resigned”. And it doesn't stop there! He then took to Twitter, his recent acquisition quest, to say if people don't want to return to office with Tesla they “ should pretend to work somewhere else”.
Now while this may be how he truly feels, he’s been getting a lot of backlash for a number of reasons. For one, this policy does not align with the policies of other major tech companies including Twitter. Other companies including Microsoft and LinkedIn have all taken to social media platforms to let their employees know that their remote policy still stands and they encourage employees to either work remotely or in a hybrid model. Not only that, but they've been encouraging employees who are unsatisfied at Tesla to consider making the move. Elon’s whole decision to move back to in-person stems from his idea that his company and people will be more productive. He even went on to emphasize that if he had not tried to increase production by ensuring people were in the office Tesla would have long gone bankrupt.
I think that this is a major error on his part. For one, other competing tech companies have already emphasized that they want employees to feel comfortable. They want them to have the flexibility of either working remote or in a hybrid model and by pushing his employees and giving them an ultimatum of either this or that, it's leaving a bad taste in their mouth. Also, he doesn't have the best reputation for putting the needs of employees above his own. For example, at the height of coronavirus he kept one of his plants open despite the county's decision to keep all in-person offices closed. With the great resignation still happening he could see a decrease in his workforce, especially among those who are his highest performers. As the older generation starts to phase out of the workforce and he's left with more Millennials and gen-z workers, he will have a difficult time getting them to exactly align with his idea of the perfect work dynamic. If there's one thing I know, gen Z would rather live frugally than to live under the thumb of an authoritarian leader.
I guess time will only tell to see what exactly what will happen and how this will play out. Maybe Elon will get his wish and have everyone back in the office or he'll be faced with the decision to either accommodate the needs of his workers or find new ones. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!