Musk bans employees from phoning it in

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Elon Musk says he no longer owns a home. He’s also not a fan of working from one.

The Tesla CEO told employees in a pair of emails last week that they are no longer allowed to work remotely every day and would be dismissed if they spend too little time at the office.

“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,” Musk wrote May 31. “This is less than we ask of factory workers.”

Musk sent a similar proclamation to workers at SpaceX and said he would consider exceptions for “particularly exceptional contributors” who can’t meet his mandate. Without his personal approval, he warned, “if you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.”

Musk referenced the months he spent sleeping at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., plant as the company was preparing to launch the Model 3 sedan in 2018, saying that without his constant presence there, “Tesla would long ago have gone bankrupt.” At the time, Musk said the company was working through “production hell.”

Tesla’s strict stance contrasts with the flexibility that many tech companies have given workers since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

He acknowledged that other employers allow remote work but claimed their performance had suffered as a result.

Musk fought the idea of keeping employees away from factories and offices to protect their health early in the pandemic, labeling concerns about the virus “dumb” and telling SpaceX employees that they were more likely to die in a car crash than from COVID-19. He reopened Tesla’s Fremont plant while its county had a stay-at-home order in place, daring officials to arrest him.

Asked about his latest edict on Twitter last week, Musk gave a curt response directed at anyone who thinks commuting to an office is an obsolete concept: “They should pretend to work somewhere else.”