Elon Musk Changes His Mind And Is Now A Fan Of Remote Work

Elon Musk Changes His Mind And Is Now A Fan Of Remote Work

Twitter is closing its Seattle and Singapore offices as part of continuous cost-cutting measures under its new owner, and CEO Elon Musk is directing employees to work remotely in those locations. 

Despite Musk’s earlier claim that those who work remotely are only “pretending to work,” Musk nonetheless banned remote work at Twitter after taking control of the company in early November.

So what is the reason for his change of mind? Apparently, it’s the expense of the company’s Seattle headquarters, including rent and other services such as cleaning and security.

The fact that Musk, a fierce critic of remote work, has admitted its cost-saving benefits shows how important remote work will be to the U.S. economy in the future. It shows how false many headlines claim that a coming recession will put an end to remote work because a weakening labor market will give managers more power to require employees to come into the office.

But in practice, the impact of a recession on remote work goes beyond the basic leverage of a shrinking labor market. Of course, it is true that employers have more power during a recession. They must simultaneously focus on optimizing the return on their employees’ investments.

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elon musk and twitter logo

Managers have more freedom to choose according to their personal preferences during economic upturns. But in downturns, they may need to exercise more restraint and rely more heavily on data to make decisions that are financially beneficial to the company, such as Musk’s decision to have Twitter employees work remotely to cut costs. Remote work benefits from this emphasis on business success over individual preferences.

It has been proven that working remotely is more productive than working in an office. Therefore, encouraging remote work is critical in times of cost-cutting, because higher productivity means companies need fewer employees to do the same amount of work. In the summer of 2020, remote workers were 5% more productive than office workers, according to a Stanford College study. 

As companies improved their remote work practices and invested in technology that enabled remote work, the productivity gap increased to 9% by spring 2022.