Tesla monitoring office check-ins to ensure compliance with return-to-office guidelines [Update]

Tesla CEO Elon Musk ended remote work for all employees late last month, saying in an email that “everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week.” To ensure everyone is following the new guidelines, the company appears to be tracking how many times employees are using their badges to check in at its offices.

According to a screenshot of an automated email received by one employee on Blind, they hadn’t used their badge to enter a Tesla facility for at least half of the preceding month. The email goes on to explain that there could be extenuating circumstances which limited their ability to return to the office, and asks them to get manager approval for their absence in writing, and to include an email inbox called “absence@tesla.com.”

The email does not explain what, if any, consequences there will be for employees who are unable to receive manager approval for not returning to the office over the last month.

“This is an automated notification. 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, fulltime. We realize that there are various reasons why you may not have badged in, including illness, vacation or traveling for business. Whatever the case, please clear the reason for you absence with your manager by email, with a copy also sent to absence@tesla.com.” (via Business Insider)

The response by other employees on Blind was overwhelmingly negative, with replies like “Damn this is next level of micromanaging” to “Tesla has lost the plot this is kind of absurd.”

While we have been unable to verify the authenticity of the email, Blind is an anonymous forum for employees which verifies they actually work for Tesla by requiring a company email address, so it appears to be genuine.

UPDATE 3:21pm PST: We have been able to verify that absense@tesla.com is a valid email address, so the automated email is authentic.

As we told you about earlier this week, those employees that have returned to the office have found there to be not enough desks and encountered poor WiFi signals. At the same time, the company has begun laying off employees as part of Musk’s plans to reduce the number of salaried employees, including hundreds of Autopilot data labellers and annotation specialists yesterday. Musk has since clarified that while the number of salaried employees will decrease, the number of hourly workers will increase over the next 12 months, resulting in a net decrease of about 3.5% of Tesla’s total workforce.

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