“News from @elonmusk & @tesla today feels like something out of the 1950s.”
That was Scott Farquhar, co-founder and CEO of Australian software group Atlassian, taking a jab over the Tesla founder’s apparent edict this week against his employees working from home.
The debate over companies struggling to get employees back to the office while workers try to get some balance in their lives after flexible pandemic arrangements, was cracked back open after a purportedly leaked email from Elon Musk to his employees surfaced earlier this week.
“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,” that email reportedly said. When asked for comment in a Twitter thread on what options staff had if they refused, Musk responded: “They should pretend to work somewhere else.”
In a Twitter thread, Farquhar, whose $50 billion company is listed on the Nasdaq
went as far as inviting any disgruntled Tesla workers to join his company, saying that minimum 40-hour week in the office was “a very different approach” to Atlassian’s.
“Atlassian employees choose everyday where and how they want to work — we call it Team Anywhere. This has been a key to our continued growth,” he said. “Why? This is the future of how we will work. Highly distributed, highly flexible. Yes, right now it’s not perfect, but we have to experiment to get it right.”
He also attached a map showing the global reach of employees, said they hope to grow to 25,000 workers by 2026 (the company had just over 6,000 in 2021), attaching the career page of his company and asking: “Any Tesla employees interested?”
Atlassian declared in 2020 that its staff could stay at home forever and was named the 23rd best company to work at in the world in 2021. Tesla, meanwhile, saw hundreds of cases of COVID-19 between May and December 2020 after on-site work continued against state and federal health recommendations.
An apparent demand by Tesla that its workers go to the office or quit comes as one survey shows 52% of global workforce would rather take a pay cut than give up remote working. In a tight job market, some say workers have the upper hand here.
As for Musk, who seems to rarely shy from a Twitter showdown, he offered up this response to Atlassian’s top guy:
“The above set of tweets illustrate why recessions serve a vital economic cleansing function.”
Read: Elon Musk tells workers to return to the office or quit. The gloves are off: ‘Tesla is kick-starting its own local Great Resignation’