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Musk to Tesla and SpaceX workers: Be in the office 40 hours a week or quit


Tesla CEO Elon Musk holds a microphone and speaks at an event at a factory in China.
Enlarge / Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the company’s manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China, on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019.

Getty Images | Bloomberg

Elon Musk has ordered Tesla and SpaceX employees to work in the office full-time or quit their jobs.

On Tuesday, Musk sent two memos telling Tesla employees they must be in the office at least 40 hours per week or leave the company. “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. This is less than we ask of factory workers,” Musk wrote in a new memo circulating on Twitter, apparently first shared by Tesla stockholder and Full Self-Driving beta tester Sam Nissim. The email’s subject line was “Remote work is no longer acceptble [sic].”

Musk seemed to confirm the emailed memo’s authenticity. When asked to provide “any additional comment to people who think coming into work is an antiquated concept,” Musk tweeted, “They should pretend to work somewhere else.”

The first memo was sent by Musk to Tesla’s “ExecStaff” email group on Tuesday. But it’s not just executive staff who face the directive—a second leaked memo that delivered a similar ultimatum to all Tesla employees was sent by Musk on Tuesday night. The company-wide email was reported by Electrek and in the Tesla subreddit. Reuters subsequently reported that “two sources confirmed the authenticity of the email” sent to all Tesla employees.

The New York Times then reported that Musk sent a nearly identical memo to SpaceX employees.

Musk: No “remote pseudo office”

Musk’s second email to Tesla workers was sent to “Everybody” and had the subject line “To be super clear.”

“Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week,” Musk wrote in the leaked company-wide memo. “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 email continued:

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

Musk’s email to SpaceX employees used the same language but with “SpaceX” swapped with “Tesla,” according to the NYT report. “That is why I spent so much time in the factory—so that those on the line could see me working alongside them. If I had not done that, SpaceX would long ago have gone bankrupt,” Musk wrote. He also wrote, “SpaceX has and will create and actually manufacture the most exciting and meaningful products of any company in space. This will not happen by phoning it in.”





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