Electric car maker Tesla and its controversial CEO, Elon Musk, weighed in on the workplace structure debate earlier this week when Musk demanded for staff return to the office or not return at all. Specifically, in an email titled "Remote work is no longer acceptble [sic]", Elon wrote that "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." He also added that the place of work "must be a main Tesla office" and one directly related to the job duties, not just any branch.
The policy is ironically at odds with that of a company Elon has bid to acquire, Twitter, which previously announced that employees could continue to work from home "forever" if they preferred. When some questioned the world's richest man on Twitter about what he thought of people who argue that the office is an "antiquated concept", Musk answered, "They should pretend to work somewhere else."
Despite threatening to terminate staff who failed to return to the office a mere couple of days ago, now it seems that Tesla is seeking to slash a portion of its jobs regardless. According to a Reuters exclusive, Elon has sent a subsequent email since, which stipulates for 10% of the jobs at Tesla to be cut. In said email titled "pause all hiring worldwide", Elon cites a “super bad feeling” about the state of the economy. Tesla is estimated to employ about 100,000 people worldwide and is currently advertising for approximately 5,000 positions on LinkedIn. In the hours following the news report of pausing recruitment and potential downsizing, Tesla's stocks dropped 3% and dropped 22% overall since the whole "buying Twitter" spectacle.
Previously, when Musk recalled staff back to the office, he praised his China employees for “burning the 3am oil”, comparing them to Americans who are, in his words, “trying to avoid going to work at all.” Thousands of Tesla staff in Shanghai have been effectively locked in for months, working 12-hour shifts, six days a week, pumping out EVs, and sleeping on the factory floor. Though this could very well be Elon's vision for Tesla's productivity (checks out, considering he once also threatened to fire all his interns after observing them "milling around" while waiting for coffee), some speculate that Musk's recent command for returning to the office may have been a disguised effort for dealing with the need to let go of staff in preparation of economic recession.