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Elon Musk for Employees: Spend 40 Hours in the Office, or Else

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Tesla, which had more than 99,000 employees at the end of last year, has relocated its headquarters to Austin, Texas, from Palo Alto, California, though it still has a significant manufacturing and operational presence in California. SpaceX employs about 12,000 people, Mr. Musk said in a recent interview

Nick Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University, said Mr. Musk’s guidelines to employees of SpaceX and Tesla were among the strictest of any tech company. Many tech companies have instead considered hybrid models in which employees can work from home some of the time, he said.

Mr Bloom said he expected SpaceX and Tesla to lose about 10 to 20 percent of their current workforces and recruiters would try to poach employees by offering jobs with more flexible work options.

Many Tesla and SpaceX employees who work in cutting-edge technology may believe in Mr. Musk, but there are also those “involved in more common activities such as IT, finance, HR and payroll,” Mr Bloom said. “They might say, ‘I don’t design cars. I do employee payroll, and I can do that elsewhere.’”

Annie Dean, the head of distributed work for Atlassian, an Australian software company, called Mr Musk’s vision “outdated.”

“This mindset is regressive and discounting the last two years of collaborative, digital-first work,” Ms Dean, former head of remote work at Meta, the owner of Facebook, said in an email.

Mr. Musk has long been known as a demanding boss. At times, he tried to set an example for hard work, late-night meetings, sending emails at all hours, and even sleeping in the Tesla factory to ramp up production in 2018.

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