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Elon Musk Is Wrong About Needing 40 Hours In The Office
Val Wright -- Global Leadership and Innovation Expert Val Wright -- Global Leadership and Innovation Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday, June 7, 2022


Is it detached and delusional to expect those who have worked remotely in the past two years to return to the office for 40 hours a week? 

Or… are Musk’s words a dose of cold reality because he is right to believe that employees “pretend to work” when they are not in a corporate office?

I’m still wondering what the real reason is that Musk would state that everyone has to be back at the office for 40 hours each and every week and failure to do so would be considered as their resignation. Perhaps he was hoping to create some additional attrition to achieve the 10% headcount cuts he said were needed?

Can the multi-billionaire entrepreneur father of seven, really be that detached from the sentiment and practicalities of the current world of work?

Musk shock tactics aside, you might not be surprised that he isn’t the only executive right now who thinks along these lines. It is certainly the minority from the conversations I’ve been having with CEOs, boards, and executives across many countries, but there are those who agree with Musk and the need to return physically to a regular office location. 

The trouble is, those companies who are forcing it are seeing how effective that strategy is going: Empty offices with minimal employees showing up and those who do are frustrated that they battled their commute to sit in an office on video calls with their remote colleagues and no difference of experience, connection, or communication. Not exactly encouraging. 

What is encouraging is the in-depth report The Reinvention of Company Culture published this week which is backed by significant surveys, data, and analytics. This report shows just how the world of work is changing and some immediate practical ideas. 

(Perhaps Musk and his executive team could benefit from taking a moment to read it!)

All 67 pages is worthy of your time to read, but for those as impatient as me I’ve included my favorite parts here:

Flex to the max: The old way of working is history as flex culture takes hold 

  • In the future, one-size-fits-all is not likely to fit anyone.

  • “Having everyone in one office space, 9 to 5, seems out of date now,” says Paddy Hull, vice president of the future of work at Unilever. “Flexibility is the way forward.”

  • Employees want flexibility in where, when, and how they work. And they’re more than willing to head out the door if their organization isn’t providing it.

  • “The people who are satisfied that their organization does a good job providing work flexibility in terms of time and location,” says Justin Black, head of people science at LinkedIn, “are 2.6 times more likely to be happy working at their company and 2.1 times more likely to recommend that others work at their employer.”

Flexibility also serves as a forcing function that drives companies away from presenteeism and toward performance.

  • “Organizations,” says Nickle LaMoreaux, CHRO at IBM, “must measure outcomes, not activity.”

  • Once a company couples agency with accountability and starts rewarding results rather than face time, it’s not such a large

  • leap to something like Flex Appeal, the program launched by international staffing agency Austin Fraser. Alice Scott, the firm’s chief operations and inclusion officer, describes the initiative as “work where you’re productive, when you’re productive, from day one, forever.”

  • But that new freedom puts new demands on company culture, which must now deliver equity for every employee, no matter where or when they work. Strong, highly functional cultures will work well no matter what time zone you live in or what time of day you do your work.

  • Some jobs, of course, can’t (yet) be done remotely. “Flexibility,” Nickle says, “is still the key.” Companies are offering job shares, different shifts, compressed workweeks, and other forms of flexible scheduling to make sure onsite employees can also shape work around their personal lives.

Ways to maximize flex time at your company 

  • As employees have shown they can be trusted to get the job done during the hours of their choosing, more employers are allowing workers to set their own schedules. “When you give someone choice and it comes backed with trust and with no consequences and no small print, I think that’s game-changing,” says Austin Fraser’s Alice Scott. “The effects for us have been overwhelmingly positive.” Here are some ways to offer your employees flex-time options while still achieving your business goals:

…I always check the sources before reading a report like this one. Saving you the search and posting for you right here. 

I’m curious how this relates to your own company right now and if you are a role model for others or where you see opportunities. Email or text me, I’d love to hear. 



  • Insights about job seeker priorities when considering a new job are based on LinkedIn’s Talent Drivers survey conducted in June 2021, with nearly 20,000 respondents across the globe. Respondents were asked to select up to five of the most important factors when considering a new job from a list of 15 employee value propositions.

  • Insights on employee happiness and feelings of care are derived from millions of Glint survey responses from more than 900 organizations; more details can be found in the Glint Employee Well-Being Reports from September 2021 and December 2021.

  • The survey data on C-level executives is based on a LinkedIn-commissioned YouGov survey of over 500 C-level executives from U.S. and U.K. organizations with 1,000+ employees and US$350+ million (£250+ million) annual revenue, from August 4 to 24, 2021, to understand how they are considering the future of work. The survey was conducted online.

  • The survey data on top areas to invest in to improve company culture was gathered from a LinkedIn Omnibus survey conducted in September 2021 among English-speaking, active LinkedIn members across the following countries and regions: US, UK, Canada, BeNeLux, Australia, India, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Germany, Middle-East and North Africa (MENA), Nordics, and Spain.

Behavioral insights 

  • Behavioral insights for this report were generated from the billions of data points created by nearly 800 million members in more than 200 countries on LinkedIn today. These analyses include data from September 2019 to September 2021.

  • Insights about job posts, company posts, member posts, and job titles are based on a keyword analysis using three categories of keywords: company culture, flexibility, and wellness. Categories included similar terms (e.g., flexibility included “remote work” and “work from home” as keywords) and were translated into Spanish, French, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, German, Portuguese, Turkish, and Chinese. Keywords were then used to classify content for comparative analyses. For comparisons between 2019, 2020, and 2021, the analysis considered all job posts, company posts, and member posts in the month of September of each year. If not otherwise stated, keyword analyses are based on all posts made in September 2021.

Dedicated to growing your business,


P.S. I hope you enjoyed this week's VAL-uable Insights, sign up here to get them in your inbox each Monday morning: http://valwrightconsulting.com/newsletter-sign-up/

  Val Wright is a recognized leadership and organization expert. Working with Xbox, Microsoft, Amazon and LinkedIn, she has spent the last 20 years partnering with executives to accelerate growth and gain market superiority across the the games, technology, retail and e-commerce industries.

She is know for telling leaders what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. Leaders seek her out when they need to accelerate their business results, build organizations, develop leaders and create world-class people strategies. Val is a dynamic speaker who will provoke, inspire and provide immediate value to your audience. She has been quoted in Fast Company, E-commerce times, Yahoo.com, Aol.com, usnews.com, NJ.com, TheNetworkJournal.com and TechNerwsWorld.com.

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