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Elon Musk says remote work is "no longer acceptable"

The cost of returning to the office
MoneyWatch: The cost of returning to the office 04:33

Elon Musk has had it with workers who prefer to work remotely. The Tesla CEO said employees must report to their assigned offices at least 40 hours per week, according to a leaked company memo entitled "Remote work is no longer acceptable." 

"If you don't show up, we will assume you have resigned," he said in a follow-up email to the company's workers. 

Musk appeared to confirm the authenticity of the leaked missives by responding to questions about them on Twitter. Tesla did not immediately confirm that the emails were from its CEO.

In arguing against remote work, Musk said his constant physical presence at the company has been integral to Tesla's success. 

"That is why I lived in the factory so much — so that those on the line could see me working alongside them. If I had not done that, Tesla would long ago have gone bankrupt," he wrote.

Tesla doesn't build great products by "phoning it in," he added.

One Twitter user probed Musk on his stance, asking how he would respond to remote work advocates who believe reporting to a physical workplace is an antiquated way of doing business. 

"They should pretend to work somewhere else," Musk said in reply. 

Around the corporate landscape, many managers have softened their stances on remote work as COVID-19 persists and infection rates rise in some parts of the U.S. 

For example, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon recently acknowledged in the bank's latest annual report that "working from home will become more permanent in American business." Dimon had previously rejected remote work outright, saying "It doesn't work for those who want to hustle; it doesn't work in terms of spontaneous idea generation."

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