loader image

Earlier this week, Bloomberg confirmed news of an email to all Tesla employees. The message, sent by CEO Elon Musk, demands that everyone at Tesla is now required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week.

It’s a daring move—one that conflicts with most workplace trends. Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index indicated that 73% of respondents from 31 countries desired more remote work options. ADP Research Institute’s People at Work 2022 survey showed that 64% of 32,000 workers have already considered or would consider looking for a new job if their employer asked them to return full-time to the office.

Beyond worker preferences, research also shows that working remotely increases productivity. Data from Prodoscore, an employee productivity monitoring solution, on 30,000 U.S. users found a 5% increase in productivity during the pandemic remote work period. The firm also found that if an employee was productive in the office, they would be just as productive at home. If an employee slacked off at work, they also would slack off at home.

A shocking, contrarian decision is not incongruent with Musk’s character. And perhaps a brand as strong as Tesla can afford to make such a risky move. But here are three data-backed reasons why we at Outthinker won’t be packing up our laptops for a return to the cubicle anytime soon:

1. Remote work enables asynchronous collaboration 

According to leadership and collaboration expert Keith Ferrazzi, the major benefit of hybrid work is not working from anywhere, but working from anytime.

“If you unleash asynchronous collaboration, you can reduce the number of meetings and increase the number of inputs,” he says.

In a hybrid team, an analyst in India can send research results at the end of her day and, while she’s sleeping, a consultant in New York puts the data into a presentation for their client. Asynchronous collaboration can also improve workers’ psychological safety by allowing time to process complex information and letting them work during the hours that they are most productive.

2. The future of work requires presence, not place 

This week, leaders, thinkers, and innovators from around the world are gathered in Miami Beach for TWIN Impact 2022 to discuss the future of business in a digital world. At that event, Jon Morris, co-founder of NOWHERE, a human-centric metaverse that combines video, gaming, and social collaboration to deliver virtual experiences, said that in the future “presence will be larger than place.”

Today, we may be limited by the boundaries of phones, laptops, or VR headsets. Tomorrow, technology will emulate a full sensory experience to give us the feeling of being together, no matter where we are.

3. 100% in-office work limits diversity and inclusion 

A McKinsey study reported that companies with high gender diversity outperform low gender diversity peers by 25%. Companies with high ethnic and cultural diversity outperformed those with low diversity by 36%.

Remote companies have the potential to reach across socio-demographic lines, neighborhoods, towns, and countries to attract more diverse talent. They reduce restrictions imposed by demographics and geography by making it easier for people to work when and where they want to.

If a company suddenly goes back to in-person, a highly capable engineer who lives two hours from the office, and who happens to have young children and extended family living in their home, may not be able to uproot and buy a house in the city. They are going to rethink staying with that company.


We will see how the decision to return to the office works out for Tesla. We wouldn’t be the first to question Musk’s logic and be proven wrong. Until then, we expect remote and hybrid work will continue to evolve to take advantage of asynchronous collaboration, experiential technologies, and access to top talent from diverse backgrounds.

Photo by Craig Adderley

“8Ps” of StrategyOpportunity
for Disruption
Recommended Leverage Points
Position- The farmers, individual and corporate, that you are targeting.

- The need of the agricultural industry that you seek to fill.
3- What technologies do you control that can help you tap into market
segments that you previously thought unreachable?

- What are the potential business alliances you could think about with key players in the segment to serve your customers with integrated solutions? (Serving customers with more integrated solutions example: serving farmers with fertilizers, crop protection and other).
Product- The products you offer, and the characteristics that affect their value to customers.

- The technology you develop for producing those products.
8- What moves are your organization taking to implement Big Data and analytics to your operations? What IoT and blockchain applications can you use?

- What tools and technology could you utilize or develop to improve food quality, traceability, and

- How can you develop a more sustainable production model to accommodate constraints on arable

- What is the future business model needed to serve new differentiated products to your customers?
Promotion- How you connect with farmers and consumers across a variety of locations and industries.
- How to make consumers, producers, and other stakeholders aware of your products and services.
8- How are you connecting your product with individual and corporate farms who could utilize it?
- How could you anticipate market and customer needs to make customers interested in accessing your differentiated products?
PriceHow consumers and other members of the agricultural supply chain pay for access to agricultural products.7- What elements of value comprise your pricing? How do each of those elements satisfy the varying needs of your customers?
Placement- How food products reach consumers. How the technologies, data, and services reach stakeholders in the supply chain.9- What new paths might exist for helping consumers access the food they desire?
- How are you adapting your operations and supply chain to accommodate consumers’ desire for proximity to the food they eat?
- How could you anticipate customer expectation to make products more
accessible to customers/agile supply chain?
- Have you considered urbanization as a part of your growth strategy?
- How your food satisfies the needs and desires of your customer.
- How the services you provide to agribusiness fulfill their needs.
9- Where does your food rate on a taste, appearance, and freshness
- Could the services you provide to companies and farms in the agriculture industry be expanded to meet more needs?
- What senses does your food affect besides hunger? How does your
customer extract value from your food in addition to consumption?
Processes- Guiding your food production operations in a manner cognizant of social pressure.8- How can you manage the supply chain differently to improve traceability and reduce waste?
- How can you innovate systems in production, processing, storing, shipping, retailing, etc.?
- What are new capabilities to increase sustainability (impact on the environment, or ESG) components?
People- The choices you make regarding hiring, organizing, and incentivizing your people and your culture.- How are you leveraging the agricultural experience of your staff bottom-up to achieve your vision?
- How do you anticipate new organizational capabilities needed to perform your future strategy (innovation, exponential technologies needed, agile customer relationship, innovative supply chain)?
- How do you manage your talents to assure suitable development with exposure in the agrifood main challenges/allowing a more sustainable view of the opportunities/cross-sectors?