Elon Musk Has Done It Again: Removing Remote Working for Tesla and SpaceX

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, Tesla’s poster child, and known monkey killer, has done it again! This time he’s told both SpaceX and Tesla employees that they have to reduce their working from home hours.

As per an email obtained by Tesla shareholder Sam Nissim, Musk wrote, “Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla.” Moreover, in a memo obtained by The New York Times, he told SpaceX workers, “The more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence.” 

Musk has confirmed that he firmly stands by his words. On June 1, he tweeted that those employees who want to predominantly work from home “should pretend to work somewhere else.” 

Now, this might be a tad obvious, but working from home does in fact reduce the likelihood of someone catching the coronavirus. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in 2020, “Adults who received positive test results for SARS-CoV-2 infection were more likely to report exclusively going to an office or school setting in the 2 weeks before illness onset, compared with those who tested negative… Businesses and employers should promote alternative work site options, such as teleworking, where possible, to reduce exposures to SARS-CoV-2.”

But what does Musk’s decision mean for those of us in Australia? Fortunately, not much. In 2020, Vox reported that Musk had illegally reopened a Tesla factory in California amidst a dangerous COVID-19 wave. Since then, he’s continued to encourage and push Tesla employees to work in dangerous conditions. None of Musk’s actions have seemed to have put a dent in Australia’s COVID culture.

Additionally, in 2022, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ David Gruen told The Australian Financial Review that working from home is here to stay in Australia. He said that the COVID-19 situation has “generated new ways of working which people will sometimes find congenial relative to their modes of working before the pandemic.” He also noted, “To the extent that people spend less time commuting into the centre of cities, and spend a much larger proportion of their time working from home, there’s going to be an adjustment in the amount of office space needed in the centre of cities.”

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