Aussie billionaire mocks Elon Musk’s order for workers to return to the office


Aussie billionaire mocks Elon Musk’s order for workers to return to the office for 40 hours a week: ‘It feels like something out of the 1950s’

  • Australian billionaire Scott Farquhar has slammed Elon Musk over leaked emails
  • Musk emailed staff demanding they worked 40hrs a week in the office or quit
  • The emails were later leaked online, with some criticising the Tesla CEO’s tone 
  • Mr Farquhar, Atlassian co-CEO, said the emails were ‘something out of the 1950s’

An Australian billionaire has slammed Elon Musk after leaked emails sent out by the Tesla CEO demanded all employees work in the Tesla office for a minimum of 40 hours or quit.

Scott Farquhar, the co-founder of Australian software company Atlassian, labelled the content of Musk’s emails as ‘like something out of the 1950s’ in a post to Twitter on Thursday and subsequently criticised the world’s wealthiest man.

Musk, 50, sent out the first email to Tesla executive staff on Tuesday, and then issued a follow-up email to all of his team which reiterated the content of the first email.

Both emails were leaked online as business leaders and fellow CEOs, like Mr Farquhar, 41, became divided about whether Musk’s harsh tone was appropriate.

An Australian billionaire has slammed Elon Musk (pictured) after leaked emails sent out by the Tesla CEO demanded all employees work in the Tesla office for a minimum of 40 hours or quit

Scott Farquhar (pictured), who is the co-founder of Australian software company Atlassian, labelled the content of Musk's emails as 'like something out of the 1950s'

Scott Farquhar (pictured), who is the co-founder of Australian software company Atlassian, labelled the content of Musk’s emails as ‘like something out of the 1950s’

Farquhar said Musk’s emails felt ‘like something out of the 1950s’ and explained that his company had a ‘different approach’ to how and where employees worked.

‘Atlassian employees choose everyday where and how they want to work – we call it Team Anywhere. This has been key for our continued growth,’ he wrote.

‘Why? This is the future of how we will work. Highly distributed, highly flexible. Yes, right now it’s not perfect, but we have to experiment to get it right.’

The Australiam billionaire went on to reveal that 42% of Atlassian’s newly-hired employees resided ‘two or more hours away from the office’.

He said this decision to hire outside of the immediate area is because ‘there is great talent all over the world – not just within a 1hr radius of our offices’.

Musk, 50, sent out the first email (pictured) to Tesla executive staff on Tuesday, and then issued a follow-up email to all of his staff

Mr Farquhar (pictured) was ranked fifth on the Financial Review 2021 rich list with a reported net worth of $20billion Australian

Mr Farquhar stated that his company is looking to grow its employee base to 25,000 before boldly asking if any Tesla employees were interested in joining Atlassian.

Atlassian was co-founded by Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes in 2002.

The company has its global headquarters in Sydney and US headquarters in San Francisco.

Mr Farquhar was ranked fifth on the Financial Review 2021 rich list with a reported net worth of $20billion Australian.

Musk’s first email read: ‘Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla. This is less than we ask of factory workers.’

The Tesla chief executive said that if ‘exceptional contributors’ prevent workers from being in the Tesla office, he would ‘review and approve those exceptions directly’.

He stressed that the ‘office’ he refers to in the email must be ‘the main Tesla office’ and ‘not a remote branch officer unrelated to job duties’.

In a follow-up email to all staff, Musk again requested all employees to be in the Tesla office for 40 hours a week and ‘not some remote pseudo office.’

‘If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned,’ he added.

The business magnate continued: ‘The more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence.’

‘That is why I lived in the factory so much – so that those on the line could see me working alongside them. If I had not done that, Tesla would long ago have gone bankrupt.’

One Twitter user messaged Musk and asked what he’d say to those who think ‘coming into work is an antiquated concept’.

The tech billionaire responded: ‘They should pretend to work somewhere else.’

In a follow-up email to all Tesla staff, Musk stated all employees needed to be working in the Tesla office for a minimum of 40 hours a week or quit. (Pictured: Tesla staff)

In a follow-up email to all Tesla staff, Musk stated all employees needed to be working in the Tesla office for a minimum of 40 hours a week or quit. (Pictured: Tesla staff) 

Atlassian co-CEO Scott Farquhar said Musk's emails felt 'like something out of the 1950s' and explained that his company had a 'different approach' to how and where employees worked

Atlassian co-CEO Scott Farquhar said Musk’s emails felt ‘like something out of the 1950s’ and explained that his company had a ‘different approach’ to how and where employees worked

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