Return to office or leave: Tesla CEO Musk asks employees

According to an email addressed to staff and obtained by the media, Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Elon Musk has ordered employees to return to work or leave the firm.

Musk stated in an email issued Tuesday night, “Everyone at Tesla is obligated to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office each week.”

“We’ll think you’ve quit if you don’t show up.”

Musk wrote, “The more senior you are, the more obvious your presence must be.” “That’s why I spent so much time at the plant, so people on the line could see me working alongside them.” Tesla would have gone bankrupt long ago if I hadn’t done it.”

The veracity of the email examined by the media was confirmed by two sources. A request for comment from Tesla was not returned.

In the face of employee reluctance and a rise of coronavirus infections in California, major tech corporations in Silicon Valley do not demand workers to return to the office full-time.

Tesla’s headquarters are now in Austin, Texas, but the company’s engineering center and one of its factories are still in the San Francisco Bay region.

“Of course, some organizations do not demand this, but when was the last time they delivered a fantastic new product?” Musk added in the email, “It’s been a while.”

“Tesla has created and will continue to build the most fascinating and important goods of any company on the planet.” This isn’t going to happen if I call it in.”

Another email issued by Musk to executives, according to one of his Twitter followers, asked them to work in the office for at least 40 hours a week or “depart Tesla.”

They should pretend to work someplace else,” the billionaire, who has agreed to take Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) private in a $44 billion transaction, said in response to this remark.

Some Tesla employees expressed their discontent with Musk’s new remarks via anonymous messages on the app Blind, which requires users to join up using their corporate email as proof of employment.

“How will Tesla finish projects if there were a mass exodus?” One Tesla employee wrote, “I don’t believe investors would be happy with it.”

Another worker wrote, “Waiting for him to backpedal very quick.”

Musk’s return to office idea has been slammed by a California-based workers’ advocacy group.

“Employers, including the state government, are discovering that requiring all employees to return is a formula for epidemics,” Worksafe executive director Stephen Knight stated in an emailed statement to the media.

“Unfortunately, Tesla’s contempt for worker safety is well known, including its defiance of the county public health agency at the outbreak’s outset,” he wrote.

Musk defied Alameda County’s lockdown procedures to stop the spread of the coronavirus by reopening a Tesla facility in Fremont, California, in May 2020. According to county data collected by legal information portal Plainsite, Tesla recorded 440 instances at the facility from May to December 2020.

According to county records, Musk’s rocket business SpaceX recorded 132 COVID-19 cases at its headquarters in Hawthorne, a Los Angeles suburb.

Musk has downplayed the dangers of the coronavirus, claiming that “the coronavirus fear is ridiculous” and that youngsters are “basically resistant” to it. COVID-19 was given to him twice afterwards.

“Americans are trying to avoid going to work at all,” Musk claimed last month, but Chinese laborers “won’t even leave the workplace sort of thing.”

At a press conference, he stated, “They’ll be burning the 3 a.m. oil.”

Following the Chinese economic hub’s shutdown, which caused the plant to close for 22 days, Tesla’s Shanghai facility has been working nonstop to build up output.

While some large companies have adopted permanent voluntary work-from-home policies, others, such as Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google, are urging employees to gradually return to the office.

Since early April, Alphabet has required employees to be in the office at least three days a week, although many staff have been permitted for full-time remote work.

In March, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said that the company’s headquarters will reopen, but that workers may continue work from home if they so desired.

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