Tesla’s white-collar employees have a choice: return to work like their assembly-line colleagues—or start clearing up their desks. In a leaked email headlined “Remote work is no longer allowed,” Elon Musk stated only in severe instances when this was proved impossible would he personally determine whether to revisit his order. The email, dated May 31 and signed “Elon,” said, “This is less than we require of industrial employees.”
He claimed that extraordinary instances would be evaluated and assessed directly by him, but that higher-ups would not be able to report to the Tesla office that was most convenient for them. “Moreover, the ‘office’ must be a primary Tesla office, not a distant branch office unrelated to the job tasks, such as being in charge of human relations at the Fremont plant but having your office in another state,” the memo said. Tesla has yet to respond to MarketWatch’s request for confirmation of the email.
While other firms have struggled to rehire staff in the almost two years after the outbreak began, Musk seems to see no benefit in doing so for his own personnel. Despite research demonstrating that productivity increased during lockdowns, remote work may not be as detrimental to productivity as he believes. In a study published last month, a research team from Texas A&M University’s School of Public Health discovered precisely that.
Another research performed by Stanford University professor Nicholas Bloom found that employees who are permitted to work from home at least part of the time are more productive. While it’s unknown if Tesla employees are ready to strike, in a tight labor market in the United States, huge businesses are still having to rehire all of their employees, and COVID-19 is still generating breakouts around the country.
When the firm assured employees they may remain home if they felt insecure due to COVID-19 in the early months of the epidemic, the entrepreneur and creator of Tesla came under criticism. Later, the corporation changed its mind and announced that workers who failed to return to work would be sacked.
Between May and December 2020, when Tesla reopened despite health experts’ advice, it experienced hundreds of instances of COVID. Despite manufacturing closures in China and continued supply-chain issues, the company’s most recent earnings, reported in April, blew beyond estimates, with sales approaching $19 billion. Despite COVID breakouts, Tesla is still attempting to bring its Shanghai manufacturing up to speed. So far this year, the company’s stock has lost 28% of its value.