AUSTIN, Texas — Elon Musk is telling employees to return to the office or “pretend to work” somewhere else. The hardline stance is drawing fire from some Tesla and Space-X workers and a number of career experts think Musk is making a mistake by requiring employees to return to the office at least 40 hours a week.
“Everything he says is contrary to what the data is showing us,” said Julie Bauke, Founder and Chief Career Strategist at The Bauke Group.
Bauke says data compiled during the pandemic showed working from home pushed up productivity and improved job satisfaction.
“He’s making a mistake,” said Bauke. “The tide is toward flexibility, toward some sort of hybrid work model, some ability to allow you to manage your life and your career and your work.”
In downtown Austin, many workers have hybrid schedules. Beau Simpson comes to the office three or four days a week.
“Some people, like myself, are definitely more productive in the office. I love meeting people and spending time with coworkers,” said Simpson.
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Even so, he says those who prefer to work from home need to be given that option.
Otherwise, they’re likely to become part of the “Great Resignation” that saw 4.4 million quit their jobs in April.
“I think it’s all about flexibility. I think if a company doesn’t allow for flexibility, for working at home or working in the office, I think they’re going to lose a lot of talented people,” said Simpson.
“Employers are going to have to realize that a one size fits all approach, managing everyone by one policy or one set of programs, does not work,” said Bauke.
The career expert says ultimately it’s about managing productivity, not presence.