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Elon Musk Tells Tesla Workers to Return to the Office Full Time Or Resign

Patrick T. Fallon | Reuters
  • Elon Musk told Tesla employees to come back into their respective offices full time or leave the company.
  • In an email sent within the company, Musk said that people must show up for at least 40 hours per week in a main Tesla office.
  • Musk later said on Twitter: "They should pretend to work somewhere else."

Elon Musk has told Tesla employees to come back into their respective offices at least 40 hours a week or leave the company. Similar emails were sent to SpaceX, according to The New York Times.

Musk said in two separate emails that people must show up for at least 40 hours per week in a main Tesla office. "If you don't show up, we will assume you have resigned," he said in one of the emails, first reported by Electrek and also obtained by CNBC.

"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," Musk said in the first email, according to Electrek. "This is less than we ask of factory workers."

"If there are particularly exceptional contributors for whom this is impossible, I will review and approve those exceptions directly," the email continued.

"There are of course companies that don't require this, but when was the last time they shipped a great new product? It's been a while," Musk wrote in the second email sent. He added that it's important for senior employees to show their presence and said it's why he "lived in the factory so much" and that, had he not, "Tesla would long ago have gone bankrupt."

"Tesla has and will create and actually manufacture the most exciting and meaningful products of any company on Earth. This will not happen by phoning it in," he added.

Responding to an inquiry about the leaked emails from a Twitter account known for promoting the CEO and Tesla, Musk said: "They should pretend to work somewhere else."

The outspoken CEO is known for his intense work expectations, especially of factory workers, pushing them to meet extremely ambitious production goals.

For example, when Covid numbers were rising in California in April 2020, Musk called health restrictions "fascist" in a rant during a company earnings call. He also kept his company's Fremont, California, plant operating despite health orders but faced no repercussions from the state or Alameda County.

Other Big Tech companies aren't yet forcing all workers back to the office. In an effort to retain talent during what's been dubbed the "Great Resignation," employers such as Amazon, Apple, Alphabet and Meta allow at least some remote work, depending on the employees' position and location.

By contrast, some big tech employers including Atlassian and Airbnb now allow remote work year-round.

Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Here's one of Musk's emails, as transcribed by CNBC:

From: Elon Musk
To: "Everybody"
Tue. 5/31/2022 [time stamp redacted]

Subj: To be super clear

Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of forty hours in the office per week. Moreover, the office must be where your actual colleagues are located, not some remote pseudo-office.

If you don't show up, we will assume you have resigned.

The more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence. That is why I lived in the factory so much- so that those on the line could see me working alongside them. If I had not done that, Tesla would long ago have gone bankrupt.

There are of course companies that don't require this, but when was the last time they shipped a great new product? It's been a while.

Tesla has and will create and actually manufacture the most exciting and meaningful products of any company on Earth. This will not happen by phoning it in.

Thanks,

Elon

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CNBC's Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.

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