Once again, Tesla boss Elon Musk is making headlines. In a leaked email, he puts his employees under pressure: They should come back to the office. home office? None! Anyone who sees things differently should pretend to work elsewhere, the tech billionaire said – of course – via Twitter. But is he right or is he talking about megalomania? FOCUS Online discussed. Tell us what you think about the topic!
A leaked email once again puts Tesla boss Elon Musk in the crossfire. “Everyone at Tesla has to spend at least 40 hours a week in the office,” he wrote to the US electric car maker’s employees. Musk makes it clear that working from home is no longer acceptable. “If someone doesn’t show up, we have to assume that person has left the company.”
So if you don’t come into the office, you get fired? Musk is quite clear on Twitter: When asked about the employees who thought it was an outdated concept to come to the office, he replied: “They should pretend to work somewhere else.”
The numerous reactions on the net show how important the topic of working from home is to people. And while some used this opportunity to verbally attack the billionaire, others spoke to him.
But what speaks for it? What speaks against it? Two editors, two opinions. FOCUS Online discussed.
Thomas Sabin (SEO manager): If you want to work at Tesla, you have to be one thing above all: resilient. That much is known. But employees of the US electric car manufacturer must also have other important skills in their repertoire: Creativity, for example, and a feeling for innovation and progress. What’s more, you should have a certain greed to think further than others, such as the competition in the industry, do. And these skills have always been lived out as best as possible in a team.
Innovation and progress are no accident. It takes bright minds who engage in a lively exchange with each other – face to face. People who think about a topic with devotion and find solutions in question-answer ping-pong, without any technical complications, without the distraction of a dog or cat, child or partner, postman or fridge. This is how progress is made, this is how innovation works. If the offices remain empty, the creative process suffers and consequently the company. Musk has recognized this and is now radically counteracting it.
So if a company like Tesla is to be the future of the future, Elon Musk cannot afford to spend money on employees who are distracted and limited in the creative process. Because if we are honest: the home office is and will remain more home than office. Real communication takes place in the office, not in bumpy digital conferences. Problems are solved in the office, not in the time loops that work from home produces. With his 40-hour rule, the Tesla boss wants to enforce these innovation-promoting processes. And he has to in order to keep Tesla on course.
And whoever hires at Tesla wants to change the world anyway. And every child knows that it is not easy.
Caroline Holzschuher (Head of Social Desk): The pandemic has shown it: office work needs a person, a laptop and the internet. Whether these three things come together in a company or in the dining room at home is irrelevant per se. Personally, I know enough people, also outside of the media, who have used the lost travel time to the office productively for their company. Who also worked after work, because it was possible from home.
Committing people like that to going back to the office—permanently—tells them only one thing: You haven’t done anything for two years. It says to mothers and fathers: We don’t appreciate your balancing act between homeschooling and home office.
People like Musk forget: An employee can be present in the office and still not create any value. We all know people like that. They take more breaks than they work, and when they sit on their laptops, nothing comes out of it either. It doesn’t bother her that the boss might be sitting just one table away. It’s an attitude thing.
And we should also consider globalization: Colleagues are often no longer based at one location, but spread all over the world. I have to talk to them on my laptop, whether I’m in the office or not.
After all, Musk is just one boss of many. In a representative study by Kantar for the Slack platform, executives wished they could see their employees half the week. A quarter of the bosses surveyed consider being in the office completely unnecessary. The study also showed that most employees prefer a model that provides for two to three days of home office a week. People want to go to the office. Just not always.
What do you have to say about this topic, dear readers? Let us know what you think in the comments on FOCUS Online or our social media channels. We will select some of them editorially and present them in this article. Join us! Your opinion counts!