Facepalm: Three months after Elon Musk blasted remote working and demanded Tesla workers get back in the office, the EV giant is reportedly still struggling with a lack of room and resources to accommodate them all. It’s contributed to a fall in morale, leading the company to start monitoring employees’ attendance.
The situation began in June when Musk sent memos to SpaceX employees and Tesla executives directing that all but “exceptional” workers must spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week or quit. This followed an earlier email sent to Tesla staff explaining that they must work in a main company office and not a remote pseudo location.
With no alternative, staff returned a few weeks later, only to find there weren’t enough desks or parking spaces at the Fremont, California, office. According to a CNBC report, citing US-based employees and internal documents, those issues are still present.
Staff have found problems that include a shortage of supplies like dongles and charging cords. Another issue is that there aren’t enough conference rooms and phone booths, forcing some people to take phone calls outside.
Numerous studies have proven that employees are happier and often more productive when working from home, so being forced back into the office has hit morale at Tesla hard, especially among those who were allowed to work remotely in the pre-pandemic era.
Tesla staff who previously worked remotely and lived far from an office were told to relocate and given until September 30 to move or take a severance package. In June, Tesla reportedly dismissed without warning those who said they couldn’t move or were unsure if it was possible.
An unhappy workforce often means an absent workforce. Internal records show that about one-eighth of Fremont factory employees were out on a typical day in early September, and about one-tenth were absent across the entire company. Tesla is now monitoring attendance, with Musk and other executives receiving detailed weekly reports on absenteeism.
It’s not just Tesla workers who are upset by a return-to-work mandate. Apple employees have launched a petition against Cupertino’s policy, and its director of machine learning left the company due to the lack of flexibility.