Jun 1, 2022 - Economy

Musk's WFH warning amplifies threat level for workers

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

Office time is paramount for Elon Musk, who has reportedly issued a return to work ultimatum for Tesla staffers.

Why it matters: Workers and employers (and politicians) are split about the future of remote work. Musk’s hardline amplifies the threat level for workers — staying employed.

Catch up quick: In a series of memos yesterday to Tesla employees, Musk wrote, according to Electrek and Bloomberg:

  • “Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week [which is less than we ask of factory workers].”
  • “The more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence.”
  • “Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla.”

Axios has reached out to Tesla for comment, although its press department is likely nonexistent.

State of play: Workers 25 and older with an advanced degree (higher than bachelor’s) are among the most likely to work remotely, U.S. government data shows.

  • But a smaller percentage of that group has been doing so as of April (17.7%) compared to last fall (25.6%).
  • On the other hand, workers 25 and older with less than a high school diploma have been among the least likely (1.2%).

Hope’s thought bubble: While more bosses have caved to the idea of remote work, Musk’s mandate could sway the minds of those still on the fence or change some policies altogether.

What to watch: Jamie Dimon, who has flip flopped on this issue, may or may not be smiling right now.

  • The May jobs report comes out Friday.

Continue reading: WFH revolution showing signs of wear

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