Business leaders are now trying to figure out return-to-work policies after years of remote work for many employees.

Elon Musk, the Tesla chief executive, is among them.

But he’s taking a decidedly tough-love approach to his pandemic-weary subordinates.

In an email to Tesla executive staffers, Musk wrote that “remote work is no longer acceptble” [sic].

“Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla,” he said in a my-way-or-the-highway tone.

Musk elaborated that the office “must be a main Tesla office, not a remote branch office unrelated to the job duties, for example being responsible for Fremont factory human relations, but having your office be in another state.”

He followed up on Twitter (natch) that to all those who believe returning to the workplace is an outdated concept, “They should pretend to work somewhere else.”

As far as his companies go, it’s Musk’s world and his workers live in it. He has every right to set corporate policies as he sees fit.

But would it kill the guy — and other business leaders — to be a little kinder and gentler?

Americans are rightly wary of returning to offices as the coronavirus continues spreading. That’s not to say the virus can’t be managed. But a little empathy from senior staff seems to be in order.

Tesla isn’t the only company that’s signaled employees either play by return-to-work rules or look elsewhere for their livelihood.

But saying in no uncertain terms that you better put in a minimum 40 hours at the office or clean out your desk is just harsh.

It also speaks to a corporate culture that some critics have said needlessly keeps Tesla workers on edge and in fear of reprisal.

Otis Redding had it right.

Try a little tenderness.