Tesla is monitoring whether its office employees are complying with CEO Elon Musk’s return-to-office mandate and sending warning emails to those who haven’t put in enough hours, according to internal emails shared by Tesla employees on Blind, an anonymous networking for verified tech professionals.
The electric carmaker has been tracking its employees’ ID badge swipes and asking those who show up fewer than four days a week to explain their absence. “You are receiving this email because there is no record of you using your badge to enter a Tesla facility on at least 16 days over the 30-day period ending on June 28. As a reminder, all employees are expected to be back in the office, full-time,” says an automated company email, according to a screenshot posted on Blind.
The email further directs employees to contact their supervisor with an explanation and copy Tesla’s absence tracking group.
The crackdown puts another dent in Tesla’s already fraught reputation among tech professionals. A Blind post criticizing the company’s attendance tracking measure received more than 500 upvotes and 800 comments within 24 hours.
“This feels wrong…It’s controlling. It’s disrespectful,” wrote a Tesla engineer who started the discussion thread.
Demanding Tesla employees work at least 40 hours a week in the office
Earlier this month, Musk demanded all Tesla employees return to the office for at least 40 hours a week or resign. Affected employees questioned the logic behind this policy and the subsequent attendance tracking.
“It’s out of touch. Record-breaking quarters all while being remote then because he got in a mood he’s forcing people into office for no reason,” a Tesla employee wrote on Blind on June 29.
“It essentially treats people like kids. You’re apparently smart enough to work at Tesla but yet you’re too stupid to decide for yourself how to be most productive. That’s the message the company is sending,” commented an Amazon employee.
Tesla didn’t respond to an inquiry for comment.
Having employees clock in and out of work is a common practice among blue-collar workers, although it is generally frowned upon in white-collar work environments, especially the tech industry, where flexible hours and hybrid work modes are often allowed.
But the measure has gained popularity this year among companies that want to enforce return-to-office policies. JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, two of the largest banks in the U.S., recently began tracking ID badge swipes and sharing the data with senior managers to monitor how often employees are coming into the office, Business Insider reported, leading some bankers to threaten to quit.