June 3

Return to the office… or else?

There are a lot of new trends that have taken place over the last 2+ years of these COVID-times. Video dating, nomadic lifestyles, and a reconnection with nature through hiking and biking are a few that come to mind. But one other trend – the acceptance of a remote-first work culture – is one that Elon Musk seems to take issue with. His directive to Tesla employees? Return to the office – or else you’re out. 

Musk emailed all Tesla employees letting them know that it’s now a requirement for them to be physically in the office at least 40 hours each week. So if you want to work remotely, it has to be on your own time. This – coupled with Musk’s “super bad feeling” about the economy – may mean that there will be a lot of turnover coming up at Tesla. 

But is this really where we’re at? Have we learned nothing over the last couple of years? For many, the thought that work only happens at the office is an antiquated one. That was Atlassian boss Scott Farquhar’s take, anyway. Brian Chesky contended that the past two years of Airbnb’s mostly remote work-life has been the most productive ones in the history of the company.

So which of these tech leaders are right?

Can great work only happen in the office? Or is it possible to be incredibly productive with a remote-first work culture?

And what would you do if your company gave you this ultimatum? Would you dust off your business casual attire and make your return? Or would you start looking elsewhere?

I guess in Tesla’s case, they’re about to find out what their workforce thinks. 

Mike Belsito

About the author

Mike Belsito is a startup product and business developer who loves creating something from nothing. Mike is the Co-Founder of Product Collective which organizes INDUSTRY, one of the largest product management summits anywhere in the world. For his leadership at Product Collective, Mike was named one of the Top 40 influencers in the field of Product Management. Mike also serves as a Faculty member of Case Western Reserve University in the department of Design and Innovation, and is Co-Host of one of the top startup podcasts online, Rocketship.FM. Prior to Product Collective, Mike spent the past 12 years in startup companies as an early employee, Co-Founder, and Executive. Mike's businesses and products have been featured in national media outlets such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, NPR, and elsewhere. Mike is also the Author of Startup Seed Funding for the Rest of us, one of the top startup books on Amazon.


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