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Elon Musk tells SpaceX, Tesla workers to return to the office

In a set of emails, Musk told SpaceX and Tesla employees they needed to be in the office for at least 40 hours each week -- or find a new job.

AUSTIN, Texas — Tech billionaire Elon Musk told employees to return to in-person work or find employment elsewhere. 

The new policy was announced in a set of similar Tuesday night emails to employees at SpaceX and Tesla. 

"Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week," Musk wrote in an email sent to Tesla employees and seen by Reuters. "If you don't show up, we will assume you have resigned." 

A memo sent to SpaceX employees and obtained by The New York Times set out the same 40-hour minimum. 

“The more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence,” Musk said in the SpaceX memo. “That is why I spent so much time in the factory — so that those on the line could see me working alongside them. If I had not done that, SpaceX would long ago have gone bankrupt.”

The companies had not publicly confirmed the policies as of Wednesday afternoon, but Musk appeared to do so on Twitter. Asked for "any additional comment to people who think coming into work is an antiquated concept," Musk replied, "They should pretend to work somewhere else."

Some major companies have embraced remote or flexible work after the practice became normalized in the COVID-19 pandemic. One such firm is Twitter, which Musk is attempting to buy.

RELATED: Musk wars with Twitter over his buyout deal... on Twitter

“Wherever you feel most productive and creative is where you will work and that includes working from home full-time forever,” Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal wrote in March.

Not all major tech companies have embraced remote work for good. According to CNBC, Google employees in the Bay Area and some other U.S. locations were told to return to the office starting in April.

RELATED: Workers grapple with new stresses as they return to office

Many office workers now see remote or hybrid work as a valuable perk. A February 2022 Pew Research Center survey found that 60% of workers with jobs that can be done from home said they’d like to work from home all or most of the time. 

According to Reuters and The New York Times, Musk suggested in the emails that companies not requiring in-office work would not be able to ship “a great new product.” 

Tesla had about 99,000 employees at the end of 2021, The New York Times reports. SpaceX has about 12,000.

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