Why would Elon Musk’s back-to-office mandate backfire

Last week, Elon Musk said in a leaked email to Tesla executives that Tesla workers have to stop working from home And spend at least 40 hours per week in the office.

“If you don’tNo, we’ll assume you’ve resigned, “Musk wrote. When challenged about the email on Twitter, he replied:” They should pretend to work elsewhere. “

The decree has felt surprisingly out of touch with what we have learned over the last two years from the distant work we have done and the employees who are now emphasizing it.

A few days later, he announced that Tesla would lose 10% (about 10,000 employees). Coincidence? I do not think so.

It turns out that the musk was not misleading. Instead, he deliberately tried to lay off workers.

Why Mask’s attitude towards remote work is dishonest and wrong

Musk said on Twitter that working from home is a “pretense” job. He is being dishonest. She doesn’t really believe it.

Tesla’s corporate culture is driven by employees who work more than 40 hours a week. Indeed, the company’s success and dominance in the electric vehicle market depends on employees working 60 or 70 hours a week. (Musk himself claims to work 80 to 90 hours per week.)

And yet Mask wants to make it compulsory to have only 40 hours per week in the office.

Is anything other than ‘pretending’ work? If Musk really believed that working from home was just a pretense of work, he would make it mandatory that all 60 or 70 hours be held in the office.

No. Kasturi knows that employees work 40 hours in the office and the rest work from home, which is very productive.

In fact, by now, everyone should know it.

According to new data from Stanford University professor Nicholas Bloom, home-based workers are now more productive than when the epidemic began. (That conclusion comes from self-reported data and objective measurement of productivity.)

It is observed that employees adapt to distant work behaviorally and psychologically. And companies adapt to follow their management systems, technologies and workflow systems.

According to Bloom, an additional reason is that we are no longer in the throes of lockdown – workers are re-engaging with their social support system – day care, school, friends and everything else.

According to the mental health research website Tracking Happiness, remote staff are also happy. This means they are more dedicated to the company’s objectives, less likely to exit, and more productive.

Why would Kasturi change his tune?

I predict that Musk will soften his mandate when he sees who will resign and where those valuable employees will go for their new jobs. Every major Silicon Valley company that has set office-official guidelines has changed their minds.

Apple has backtracked on similar needs – announcing that employees must work in the office at least three days a week. Employees revolt, and a key AI leader resigns and goes to work for rival Google.

Google itself has recently moved away from such orders. Google Maps Group has told contractors that they will be working full time in the office from June 6.

After they threatened to strike, Google extended the deadline by three months.

Kasturi is a capitalist. So he should know that job market is a market.

Employees – including highly valued employees on whom Tesla depends for its success – will leave and go to work for the Tesla competition.

While he may think that forcing Tesla to work in the office will reduce the burden of layoffs, a blanket mandate takes away control of how many employees leave and which one actually goes out the door.

In general, I hope the most valuable employees of the company will get the best offers from the competition and they will be the first.

Elon Musk is a lot – a Twitter troll, hip-shooter and apostate – but he’s not stupid. So he will change his mind about the order.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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