Elon Musk said working from home during the pandemic was “misleading” people into thinking they didn’t have to work hard. He’s got it all wrong, economists say.

Elon Musk at the 2022 Met Gala.

Elon Musk at the 2022 Met Gala.Andrew Kelly/Reuters

  • Elon Musk said COVID-19 has “made people think you don’t have to work really hard”.

  • Working from home didn’t make employees less productive, three economists told Insider.

  • The only limitation on productivity was when employees had children at home to care for.

Elon Musk is not a fan of remote working.

The CEO of Tesla has a ultimatum for Tesla staff on May 31: return to the office full-time or look for work elsewhere.

Tesla’s return to the office now appears to be in full swing. Insider’s Grace Kay reported that Tesla… started tracking employees with their badgessending automated emails to employees who are away from the office.

The information reported that the return of Tesla’s office was hampered by a lack of physical space, with some workers struggle to find a desk

So why is Musk so determined to get everyone back in the office?

The Tesla billionaire has made it clear that he believes remote working allows people to avoid hard work.

When asked on Twitter how he would respond to people who may think office work is outdated, Tesla billionaire says replied: “They have to pretend they work somewhere else.”

Musk too tweeted in May: “All the Covid homework has made people think you don’t have to work really hard.”

Musk, who? railed against lockdown mandates and defied shelter-in-place orders to send workers back to its Tesla plant in California in May 2020 may have the wrong idea about remote working.

Insider spoke to three economists, all of whom said remote working during the pandemic did not hurt workers’ productivity.

“Most of the evidence shows productivity has increased while people stayed at home,” Natacha Postel-Vinay, an economic and financial historian at the London School of Economics, told Insider.

“People spent less time commuting, so they could use some of that time to work, and they could also spend more time with their families and sleeping, which meant they were happier and more productive,” she added. .

Musk did not answer when contacted by Insider.

Data shared with Bloomberg in February 2021 by VPN provider NordVPN Teams suggested that in many economies, working from home meant people were working more hours.

Albrecht Ritschl, a professor of economic history, also said the elimination of commuting is a bonus to employee productivity, adding that working from home resulted in fewer hours being spent in “pointless meetings.”

“Time spent in the office is not the same as working hard,” Ritschl said.

Almarina Gramozi, an economics lecturer at King’s College London, said the largest surveys of workers in the US and the UK found that workers at home were at least as productive as they were in the office – although she said a similar survey in Japan found that workers were reported lower productivity when working from home.

All three experts said productivity fell occasionally in some cases, but not because people were withdrawing.

People with children at home during the pandemic often had to split their attention between work and childcare, leading to a decline in productivity, Postel-Vinay and Ritschl said.

Gramozi added that productivity isn’t just due to individual workers.

“Productivity levels depend largely on the support employers provide, the adoption of technology, and the type of work that makes it easy to do remotely,” she told Insider.

Read the original article Business Insider

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