Elon Musk has extended his tough new rule for working at Tesla to all staff, warning that if they don’t play ball he’ll assume they’ve ‘quit’.
Elon Musk appears to have doubled down on his ruling that Tesla staff must work at least 40 hours in offices, extending his demand to “everyone” at his company in a new email.
The world’s richest man made headlines this week with a leaked email sent to Tesla executives which required them to return to full-time work or “leave” the company.
Musk, who seems determined to get Tesla out of the Covid-era work-from-home mindset, stressed that it was “less than what we are asking factory workers”.
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His first email, sent on Tuesday, was sent to management staff.
But in a new email, sent to “Everyone” with the subject “To be super clear,” Musk clarified that the 40-hour rule applies to all employees.
“Everyone at Tesla must spend at least 40 hours in the office per week,” Musk said in the follow-up email, which was shared online by Twitter user Sam Nissim.
“Also, the office should be where your real colleagues are, not some remote pseudo-office. If you do not show up, we will assume that you have resigned.
Musk went on to explain the importance of visibility in the workplace, pointing out if he hadn’t “lived so much at the factory”, “Tesla would have gone bankrupt a long time ago.”
“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,” he said.
“Tesla has created and truly will and will make the most exciting and meaningful products of any company on Earth. It’s not going to happen by phoning it.
Musk’s new rules for Tesla
Under Musk’s new rules for Tesla, workers must spend at least 40 hours a week working from their actual workplace.
Since five days of eight-hour shifts add up to 40 hours, this would provide few opportunities to work remotely in the week.
The original email to executives, which emerged on Tuesday, was retweeted by an account called Whole Mars Catalog, which asked, “Hey Elon, any additional comments to people who think coming to work is an outdated concept?”
“They should pretend to work somewhere else,” Musk replied early Wednesday morning, though he didn’t directly confirm the email was genuine.
The United States has some of the most flexible labor laws in the developed world. Most employees can be terminated for no reason, the only recourse for the employee would be if they could prove that their termination was based on discrimination – for example, if they were terminated because of their race, gender, of his disability or his sexuality.
As such, Tesla would be broadly allowed to get rid of staff who didn’t return to work for 40 hours a week.
Musk’s coup against American workers
Last month, Musk took a look at the work ethic of Americans during a discussion at a conference on the future of cars, organized by the British newspaper The FinancialTimes.
“There are just a lot of super talented and hardworking 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.
“Whereas in America people try to avoid going to work at all.”
In April, it emerged that Tesla workers at its Shanghai factory would be sleeping at the factory for several weeks due to the city’s severe lockdown.
Workers at the Chinese factory are said to have received a bed and a mattress to lie on.
This was part of a “closed loop” system designed to isolate staff from the outside world so production could ramp up.
It has been claimed that Musk has in the past been seen asleep at Tesla facilities. He dozed under the desks and even on the floor of the factory itself.
In 2018, he told the Recode Decode podcast that when the Tesla Model 3 car was produced, he worked seven days a week and “slept a few hours, worked a few hours.”
He said he sometimes worked 120 hours. At 168 hours a week, that would leave less than seven hours a day behind.
But he did not recommend that 120-hour weeks be standardized, he said.
“You’re going to go a little crazy if you work 120 hours a week,” Musk added.
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