Updated: Sep 12
“Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week. If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.” - Elon Musk
In addition, Musk said that "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. This is less than we ask of factory workers,"... "Tesla has and will create and actually manufacture the most exciting and meaningful products of any company on Earth. This will not happen by phoning it in."
My Take on This Through a Values Based Human Resources Lens
Elon Musk is in charge of a behemoth of an organization. Not only does he employ tons of people all over the world, 110,000 to be exact, his electric car has and forever will change the automotive industry.
It's not a secret that Elon has sacrificed a lot to create the success that his cars are seeing today. He has even gone on interviews to show the world where he spent many night sleeping in his office. In his leaked email stating the RTO mandate he mentions that his staff should also sleeping in the office, and commit to being there all the time.
Furthermore he mentions that, that level of dedication and commitment is the reason he is so successful today, as a leader, founder of Tesla, and also one of the wealthiest people on Earth. He goes on to suggest that these are requirements when you want the level of success he has achieved.
The Hierarchy to Succeed
I think that in building an organization such a Tesla requires a strict hierarchy and clear chain of command with Elon sitting at the top.
In my personal work, I've come across business leaders who have said something along the lines of "This is what I had to do to get to where I am today (implying some sort of struggle), and so my staff has to make the same sacrifices because they're working for me".
In case it wasn't obvious enough, that mentality, attitude, and way of leading an organization does not resonate with your employees. Regardless of the choices you made to create the success of your business and the way you've chosen to live your life, sleepless nights, no vacations or weekends, working 100 hours a week, just doesn't work with staff. You can't justify your need for them to sacrifice as much as you have just because you've sacrificed.
I'm Not Surprised, but I Am Disappointed
I'm actually not shocked that large bureaucratic style organizations make requirements such as Musk has.
It is however, disappointing.
It leaves out a huge body of work and understanding of the different varying needs of humanity.
In my work I know of some business leaders that are trying to find other ways to run their business without a RTO mandate, and that makes me happy.
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