Billionaire Elon Musk underlined his views on remote work in no uncertain terms this week, declaring that working from home is “morally wrong.”
The Tesla founder and Twitter owner, who has claimed to work seven days a week, said in an interview with CNBC’s David Faber that employees are more productive in person. But he also expressed disdain for white-collar employees who work from home on class grounds, with most service employees required to do their job on site.
“There are some exceptions, but I kinda think the whole notion of work-from-home is a bit like the fake Marie Antoinette quote, ‘Let them eat cake,'” he said. “You’re going to make people who make your food that gets delivered [that] can’t work from home; the people that come fix your house, they cant work from home, but you can?”
“Does that seem morally right? That’s messed up,” Musk said.
Musk also took aim at bosses who work from home while overseeing employees who must show up in person to do their jobs, calling them out of touch and hypocritical for “asking everyone else to not work from home while they do.”
“It’s messed up to assume that, yes, they have to go to work but you don’t. It’s not just a productivity thing, I think it’s morally wrong,” he told CNBC.
Many large employers in the U.S. and abroad have settled on hybrid work models, recognizing that employees prize flexibility and enjoy the time and cost savings that come from not having to commute to an office.
Laptop “la-la land”
Musk highlighted the distinction between office workers and those whose jobs can only be performed on a factory floor, like auto workers.
“The laptop class is living in la-la land. As I said, look at the cars. Are people working from home here? Of course not,” Musk said.
Not surprisingly, the Tesla, Space X, and until recently Twitter CEO requires that his employees show up for work in person.
Musk said he himself works almost every day, taking just two to three days off per year.
“I work seven days a week, but I’m not expecting others to do that,” he said.