Elon Musk’s strict comeback on office policy hits Twitter

Twitter boss Elon Musk said in his first email to employees that he hoped to return to the office.

Musk said employees must report to the office at least 40 hours per week, except in cases that he personally approves. It marks the latest policy change that Musk is bringing to the company, after sacking nearly half of its employees after it acquired Twitter last week.

Previously, Twitter had pushed many employees to work remotely during the pandemic, and left the policy open when offices reopened in March. However, Musk has always been resistant to the practice, when the pandemic caused it to be repealed from his other companies.

protest going back to office

On May 31, Musk told Tesla employees that they should “spend at least forty hours in the office per week” or leave. This included teams that worked remotely even before the pandemic, as the company focused on building international hubs.

As a result, Tesla neglected to develop its office space or purchase sufficient office equipment at facilities in Nevada and California. In the months following the decision to return to office, the company still lacked the room and resources to appropriately accommodate employees.

Even during the pandemic, Musk was critical of employees working from home, believing that the environment was not motivating properly. “All the things about living in a Covid home have tricked people into thinking that you don’t need to work really hard,” he said. When asked how he would respond to dissenting employees, Musk said, “He should pretend to work elsewhere.”

Musk isn’t among the only CEOs who put a premium on employees getting physically able to perform their duties. One CEO said it was especially important for young employees to learn from and grow from colleagues. “It’s very important to bring young employees into the office, collaborating and working hard,” he said.

remote work productivity

While remote work may inhibit some developmental potential for employees, Musk’s reasoning about productivity is flawed. “Most evidence suggests that people living indoors have increased productivity,” said Natacha Postel-Vinay of the London School of Economics.

The economic and financial historian noted that people often used the time taken to commute to and from work. This included starting earlier, as well as working until later in the evening. “Working from home gives workers more flexibility to sleep and spend time with family, which means they were happier and more productive,” Postel-Vinay said.

Conversely, when Musk forced them to return to the workplace, Tesla’s employees’ morale was hit hard. This was especially the case for those who were working remotely before the pandemic. Musk later ordered the company to conduct a staff attendance survey and produce detailed weekly reports on absenteeism. Musk’s stern approach is likely why some Twitter users have left the platform for alternatives over concerns over his approach to free speech.

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