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Elon Musk's Authoritarianism on Returning to the Office Undermining Tesla’s Future

TASA ID: 22108

Elon Musk recently demanded that all Tesla staff return to the office full-time, according to an email sent to executive staff and leaked on social media. Musk said those who do not want to come to office should “pretend to work somewhere else.” This authoritarian, top-down approach rooted in mistrust and false assumptions goes against best practices. It speaks to an illusion of control that will undermine employee productivity, engagement, innovation, retention, and recruitment at Tesla.

One of Musk’s false assumptions involves the idea that employees “pretend” to work from home. In fact, research using both surveys and behavior tracking from the early days of the pandemic has shown that remote work resulted in higher productivity. More recently, academics demonstrated a further increase in productivity in remote work, from 5 percent in the summer of 2020 to 9 percent in May 2022. That is because companies and employees grew better at working from home.

5 Steps to Protect Your Career in the COVID Recovery

TASA ID: 22108

COVID-19 has disrupted many areas of our lives, including our careers. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to strengthen and secure your career during these uncertain times.

Due to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the restaurant industry, one of my coaching clients, Alex, who served as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) in a regional chain of 24 diners in the Northeast US, wanted to explore switching her career to a different industry.

Alex turned to me as her executive coach and asked for my guidance. I recommended a 5-step decision-making process to her that addresses the dangerous judgment errors we make called cognitive biases, and coached her through the process to help her make the wisest and most profitable decision.

Google’s Myth of Losing Social Capital in Hybrid Work

TASA ID: 22108

Google recently announced its new post-pandemic hybrid work policy, requiring employees work in the office for at least three days a week. That policy goes against the desires of many rank-and-file Google employees. A survey of over 1,000 Google employees showed that two-thirds feel unhappy with being forced to be in the office three days a week, with many threatening to leave in internal meetings and public letters, and some already quitting to go to other companies with more flexible options.

Yet Google’s leadership is defending its requirement of mostly in-office work as necessary to protect the company’s social capital, meaning people’s connections to and trust in each other. In fact, according to the former head of HR at Google Laszlo Brock, three days a week is just a transition period. Google’s leadership intends to enforce full-time, in-office work in the next couple of years. Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt supports this notion, saying that it’s “important that these people be at the office” to get the benefit of on-the-job training for junior team members.

Addressing the Top Concern for Executives on Hybrid and Remote Work:

Proximity Bias

TASA ID: 22108

A January 2022 Slack survey of over 10,000 knowledge workers and their leaders shows that the top concern for executives about hybrid and remote work is “proximity bias.” Namely, 41% feel worried about the negative impact on work culture from the prospect of inequality between office-centric, hybrid, and fully remote employees.

The difference in time spent in the office leads to concerns ranging from decreased career mobility for those who spend less face time with their supervisor to resentment building up against the staff who have the most flexibility in where to work. Leaders who want to seize a competitive advantage in the future of work need to use research-based best practices by creating a culture of “Excellence From Anywhere” to address these concerns. This cultural best practice is based on guidance for leaders at 17 major organizations I helped guide in developing and implementing effective strategies for a work culture fit for the future of work.

The Parallel Between Sports and Leadership

TASA ID: 1056

There are a lot of similarities between sports and the business world. We use a lot of sports language in our daily business interactions. We “pitch clients”, “drop the ball” when we make a mistake or miss a deadline, we “put together a game plan” for a project. In addition to sharing the same language, we can learn a great deal about leadership from sports coaches.

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