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Stephen Mihm

Elon Musk’s Futurist Bookshelf Needs Alvin Toffler

The remote-work revolution has been 60 years in the making. We can thank NASA’s moon program and the 1973 oil embargo.

NASA pioneered remote work, believe it or not.

NASA pioneered remote work, believe it or not.

Photographer: NASA/AFP/Getty Images

Elon Musk sent out an email to Tesla employees last week informing them that “remote work is no longer acceptable.” He’s not alone: A growing number of companies have put workers on notice that the work-at-home habits born of the pandemic will no longer cut it.

But many employees are pushing back, arguing that they get more done at home. Some have won reprieves, or limited the number of days they’re required to come into the office. Others have simply quit, raising the question of whether remote work — which has long been called telecommuting — has finally arrived.