Is Working From Home “Morally Wrong”? Elon Musk Thinks So

Elon Musk at a conference sitting and listening to another speaker
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Tesla founder Elon Musk is known for sharing his controversial ideas and opinions, and he’s stirring up headlines again with yet another contentious statement. In a recent interview with American news channel CNBC, Musk called working from home “morally wrong”.

While office workers who can do their jobs primarily online are pushing for hybrid working or going fully remote, Elon Musk is scoffing at the “laptop class” for insisting on working from home. This adds to his previous statements that he thinks remote workers are less productive but this is the first time he’s raised it as a moral debate.

He argues it is morally wrong because there are service workers, such as factory workers and healthcare employees, who don’t have the option to work from home due to their nature of work.

In his view, it sends the wrong message and is a slap in the face to these essential workers who have to go to work in order to deliver the services everyone needs.

Elon Musk’s views on the moral issue of remote work

Musk is a strong supporter of return-to-office policies and last year even ordered that Tesla staff work from the office at least 40 hours a week, with one of his reasons being that he viewed remote work as a productivity killer.

However, he hasn’t previously shared that he thinks working from home is also a moral issue.

With many companies around the globe adopting hybrid working models for office workers, remote work has largely become a socially accepted norm, so many workers may be surprised by Musk’s view that the work-from-home model is immoral.

An issue of unfairness

What Musk seems to be saying at the core is that it is unfair that some people should be allowed to stay at home to work when there are people who have to leave their homes in order to earn a living.

It is especially “immoral” in his view because such workers are essential to the public. He said “People building the cars, servicing the cars, building houses, fixing houses, making the food, making all the things that people consume. It’s messed up to assume that, yes, they have to go to work, but you don’t.”

Musk’s opinion seems largely rooted in the supposed principle of it all. So, do those who primarily work online on PCs owe it to service workers to also go into work, based on principle? That’s open to individual opinion.

“La-la land”

Musk said workers who work from PCs and are able to do their work remotely are “living in la-la land” to think it is okay that they get to work from home when there are those who don’t, specifically pointing out tech workers as the “laptop class”.

He ties the moral issues with remote work to a wider class issue and says privileged white-collar workers are out of touch.

“It’s not just a productivity thing, it’s morally wrong,” said Musk, although he also said “There are some exceptions” which he didn’t go into.

In addition, Musk called out bosses who work remotely while the employees they supervise have to go in to work to carry out their roles, saying it is hypocritical.

“People should get off the goddamn moral high horse with the work-from-home bulls***,” he stated.

What do you think about Elon Musk’s views on working from home? Do you agree or disagree with any of his opinions? Let us know in the comments!

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