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Lately I find myself quite in agreement with Tesla CEO Elon Musk on myriad issues and his latest is no exception.
It has been reported that Musk has sent out two emails to his employees basically saying "get back to the office or resign." He is addressing a problem that many businesses have had to face since the start of the pandemic and the "remote work" trend, which one would think would have worked out just fine, but that is now showing clear signs that it is simply not good for business.
Of course employees like it. I mean, they can sit at home in their pajamas and basically do what they want without someone breathing down their neck to make sure they are getting their work done.
But that's part of the problem. While some workers may be able to function well in an unstructured environment, the reality is that most cannot, and the proof is beginning to rear its ugly head in the numbers and lack of productivity.
It is simply not a working model and Musk is calling it out and saying to his employees that their place is in the office if they want to get a paycheck. He knows a thing or two about numbers and results, which is why he also went on to say in response to his demands, "They (his workers) should pretend to work somewhere else."
Part of the issue is also that there are many more workers in positions where remote work is not even an option—Musk specifically mentioned his own factory workers who cannot build cars from their home offices. "If they have to be here, so do you," is basically what he is saying.
There is no denying that Musk is a go-getter. He has always been known for his high expectations of workers. But he's not wrong in his expectations either. As he has said, you can't build great products that change the world without showing up to make sure that it happens. Even he is known as one who is "always at work" even when he's not at work. But he is also noted for spending a considerable amount of time in the office.
He tends to take the idea that many CEO's do that part of the joy of running a successful business is that if everyone works hard and puts in the work, evereyone who is a part of the business succeeds with it.
You can't do that if you have employees who are essentially "phoning it in."
To be fair, there are a number of other big tech companies still grappling with whether or not to force employees back, taking into account issues with the "Great Resignation" which is still ongoing. There are still a number of employees, faced with returning, who have been adamant they will not and will simply resign.
Still, the ball has to get started rolling somewhere and if businesses want to stay in business, they are going to have to put their foot down as Musk is doing and simply take back the upper hand.
While it is true that you need employees doing at least something in order to run your business, at the same time you can't be productive and allow your employees to dictate how you are going to be able to conduct your business.
That, in the end, does not provide a benefit to anyone—business nor employee alike. If the employees want to share in the success of the company, they need to be able to make the appropriate contribution to it.