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Tesla may be serious about ‘no remote work’ policy

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According to new posts on Blind, a forum that allows technologists to post anonymous messages at their workplace, Tesla may be serious about enforcing CEO Elon Musk’s “no remote work” policy.

“Tesla has started emailing those who don’t show up for at least 16 days a month,” an anonymous poster wrote on the site. “The email prompts you to email your boss with an explanation and copy the absence tracking group.”

Another poster included a screenshot of an email asking them to “clear the reason for your absence with your manager.” The email, an automated notification, also said: “All employees should be back in the office, full time.”

In early June, Musk reportedly wrote an email to executives in which he said remote work “was no longer acceptable.” Anyone who wanted to work from home should ask Musk himself. “Anyone who wants to work remotely must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours per week or leave Tesla,” reads the email, which was reprinted by Electrik. “That’s less than what we ask of factory workers.” (Bloomberg also excerpted portions of the email.)

In a follow-up email, Musk emphasized his belief that the most effective manager is one who is physically present in the office as much as possible. “The older you are, the more visible your presence should be,” he reportedly wrote. “That’s why I lived so long at the factory, so those on the line could see me working alongside them. If I hadn’t done that, Tesla would have gone bankrupt a long time ago.

Musk’s insistence that employees come to the office goes against the policy of many other tech companies. At Google, Apple, Airbnb and other tech giants, hybrid and/or remote working has been widely adopted. In poll after poll over the past few years, technologists have indicated their overwhelming preference for remote and hybrid working and how they will walk away if they don’t get it. Can Tesla retain his talent?