Tesla CEO Elon Musk last night condemned working from home as ‘morally wrong’, saying the practice is unfair for service workers who still have to show up.
Musk, the second richest person in the world, has often criticized working from home that became a necessity for many during Covid-19 lockdowns.
But for many businesses, the practice has continued in the post-pandemic era.
The business mogul, who also owns the social media platform Twitter, referred to workers in Silicon Valley’s tech industry as the ‘laptop classes living in la-la-land’ in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday night.
He told the network’s David Faber that he believes being in the office boosts productivity, but also said his opposition to working from home was a ‘moral issue’.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk last night (pictured) condemned working from home as ‘morally wrong’, saying the practice is unfair for service workers who still have to show up
In the wide-ranging interview, Musk said employees that have so far refused to return to offices after Covid-19 restrictions ended need to ‘get off their moral high horse’ and get back to work like others have, pointing to service workers.
‘The whole work-from-home thing, it’s sort of like, I think it’s, like, there are some exceptions, but I kind of think that the whole notion of work-from-home is a bit like, you know, the fake Marie Antoinette quote, “Let them eat cake,”‘ he told Faber.
‘It’s like, it’s like really? You’re gonna work from home and you’re gonna make everyone else who made your car come work in the factory? You’re gonna make people who make your food that gets delivered – they can’t work from home? The people that come fix your house? They can’t work from home, but you can?’
‘Does that seem morally right?’ he asked. ‘That’s messed up.’
When asked by Faber whether he thought it was a moral issue, Musk said ‘yes’.
‘It’s a productivity issue, but it’s also a moral issue,’ he told the interviewer. ‘People should get off their goddamn moral high horse with this bulls–t because they’re asking everyone else to not work from home while they do. It’s wrong.’
Silicon Valley execs – and others across the country – have been frustrated by workers resisting a return to the office, despite directives urging them to do so.
Companies such as Amazon and Salesforce have demanded workers begin returning to the office after signs that productivity was slackening, CNBC reported.
Musk also covered his on-going leadership of Twitter during the interview.
He scrapped Twitter’s own working from home policy when he took control of the company in November last year, ordering its employees back into work.
Musk, the second richest person in the world, has often criticized working from home that became a necessity for many during Covid-19 lockdowns. He scrapped Twitter’s own working from home policy when he took control of the company in November last year, ordering its employees back into work. Pictured: Workers are seen inside Twitter’s offices in March 2022
He said a new Twitter chief executive will let him devote more time to Tesla, but that he will continue to tweet his unfiltered thoughts even if it hurts his businesses.
‘I don’t care,’ the billionaire said when asked what he thought of his controversial tweets potentially hurting Tesla shares or making it harder to sell ads on Twitter.
‘I’ll say what I want to say and if the consequence of that is losing money, so be it.’
Named as Musk’s successor as Twitter CEO, Linda Yaccarino is a respected media and advertising executive considered a visionary by some.
‘Twitter is very much an advertising business; Linda is obviously incredible at that and she’s just a great executive in general,’ Musk said.
‘Linda will operate a company and I will build products.’
Since taking over Twitter in late October, Musk has repeatedly courted controversy, sacking most of its staff, readmitting banned accounts to the platform, suspending journalists and charging for previously free services.
Those moves have spooked advertisers, many of whom left the platform due to concerns over their products being associated with troubling content.
Musk has also cleared the way for Donald Trump to return to Twitter, but the former US president has yet to restart using the platform, choosing to post on his own social media site instead.
Were Trump to return and post unfounded claims about the 2020 election, a ‘community notes’ feature would let Twitter users point out the misinformation, Musk told CNBC, adding that he did not personally think the election was ‘stolen’ as Trump alleges.
Despite Musk’s stated positions on free speech, as well as his fierce criticism of content moderation around the 2020 election, Twitter recently admitted it yielded to Turkish government pressure to take down content ahead of last weekend’s elections.
‘We received what we believed to be a final threat to throttle the service – after several such warnings,’ the company said Monday, amid outcry over the apparent hypocrisy.
‘And so in order to keep Twitter available over the election weekend, took action on four accounts and 409 Tweets identified by court order.’
In the wide-ranging interview, Musk said employees that have so far refused to return to offices after Covid-19 restrictions ended need to ‘get off their moral high horse’ and get back to work like others have, pointing to service workers. Pictured: Twitter offices in April 2022
Musk told CNBC he will be focusing especially on artificial intelligence back at Tesla, which already uses such technology for self-driving capabilities.
‘I think Tesla will have a ChatGPT moment; I’d say no later than next year,’ Musk said of Tesla AI used for autonomous driving.
ChatGPT bots from startup OpenAI, which Musk helped create, have captured imaginations and provoked fears regarding powerful artificial intelligence.
‘I am the reason OpenAI exists,’ Musk claimed, noting he invested some $50 million in the startup at the outset. ‘I came up with the name.’
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