How to change the world the Musk way: Work 100 hours a week
Tesla chief draws fire for saying his workers need to push themselves to exhaustion to meet his lofty goals
Tesla and SpaceX workers should put in 80 to 100 hours a week to “change the world”, Elon Musk has said.
The technology entrepreneur admitted that there were “way easier places to work” than his companies, adding: “Nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week.”
Asked how many hours a week were necessary, Musk said: “Varies per person, but about 80 sustained, peaking above 100 at times. Pain level increases exponentially above 80.”
Musk’s comments attracted criticism from commentators who suggested that overwork could lead to decreased productivity.
He is the founder and chief executive of several companies including SpaceX, which is working on building disposable rockets, Tesla, which designs and builds electric cars and sustainable energy sources, The Boring Company, a subsidiary of SpaceX which is building underground tunnel networks, and Neuralink, which aims to “connect humans and computers”.
Tesla has previously been accused of pushing workers at its production factory too hard in efforts to keep the company on schedule. The company had been plagued with difficulty meeting production targets for its Model 3 car, and earlier this year Bloomberg reported that workers were undertaking 12- to 16-hour shifts, under pressure to avoid delays and meet a goal of 5,000 cars per week. On some occasions Musk slept on the factory floor and worked more than 100 hours a week as the company pushed to meet its targets in March and April this year.
In a separate interview with news website Axios, released over the weekend, he admitted that the company was “within weeks” of going under at the time.
Tesla has denied claims that the rush created unsafe conditions. During the earnings call for its third quarter results in October, Musk said the company had been the target of “unfair accusations”, including that it was underreporting worker injuries.
Laurie Shelby, the company’s health and safety lead, said serious injuries were “extremely rare”, and that “we have good reporting of injuries, good reporting of near-misses, good observations and lots of improvements”.
Musk, whose comments about working hours were made via Twitter, also faces restrictions on his communications following a deal with US regulator the Securities and Exchange Commmission. He was forced to pay out $20m and step down as chairperson in a settlement with the SEC after he tweeted in August that he had secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 a share, causing its stock price to soar. The SEC said he had not secured the funding and sued him for fraud. Another part of the deal was that Tesla must “put in place additional controls and procedures to oversee Musk’s communications”.
This does not take effect until 90 days after the settlement, so does not have to be in place until mid-January 2019.
– © The Daily Telegraph