Apple employees have officially started returning in person after working remotely since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Apple’s decision to return in person, albeit on a very limited basis at this time , did not go without criticism, but the company went ahead with its plans.
Apple starts requiring in-person work
After several starts and stops due to rising COVID-19 cases, Apple officially set its April 11 date for the in-person return last month. Starting today, company employees are now required to work in person at least one day a week. Starting three weeks from today, May 2, employees will be required to work from the office two days a week.
Then, from May 23, employees will have to be in the office three days a week. This is the beginning of Apple’s so-called “hybrid” work plan. Apple hasn’t revealed how long it will have this hybrid workbench in place, but Tim Cook described it as a “pilot”. This implies that this could change at some point and the company could eventually require employees to return full-time in person.
As we’ve said before, however, even though Apple’s corporate policy now requires in-person work starting April 11, many Apple divisions have been back in the office on and off for more than a year. year. This specifically includes groups such as hardware engineering and other similar teams.
Amid employee backlash, Apple noted that it was flexible in its policies…to some degree. In his most recent memo announcing the April 11 date for the in-person return to work, Tim Cook acknowledged that this could be a “troubling change” for some employees. This is why the company is gradually implementing the “hybrid” approach, and this is also why each team can adapt its policy as it sees fit.
A detailed report of Bloomberg last week explained that many employees are frustrated with this change, especially since Apple announces that its products make it easier to work remotely…and yet it won’t allow full-time remote work for its own employees.
A week before its remote work tribute, Apple Inc. gave its own employees a timeline in which they should return to their offices. For some, including the 7,500 of Apple’s 165,000 employees who belong to a Slack room dedicated to defending remote work, it was deadly. “They’re trolling us, aren’t they?” we wrote. Others called the ad “bad taste” and “insulting.” The underlying message: Apple knows that the company’s employees, who use its products as tools, can work from home perfectly. So why can’t his own staff do it?
A similar report from Fortune also described employee frustration with Apple’s mandatory in-person work plan:
“I don’t care if I come back to work here,” a self-proclaimed Apple employee said on a message board called Blind. Once April 11 arrives and puts this new rule into effect, they added, they will resign from their jobs.
A worker reacted to the resignation posts with a laughing emoji and said, “I’ll do the same.” Another employee rallied, “Good God, man, let’s do this! F–k RTO.
One of the employees said he would resign as soon as he got home. They cited public transit as one of the reasons for leaving: “I already know that I won’t be able to make the trip and sit still for 8 hours.”
Apple is one of the few companies in Silicon Valley to mandate in-person work. Twitter allows its employees to work permanently from home, like most Facebook employees. Google is forcing some teams to return to in-person work as early as this month, but many employees can work from home permanently.
Apple’s insistence on an in-person return could impact his retention. The company has handed out two rounds of rare bonuses to some of its top employees in recent months. These bonuses are in the form of restricted stock units, which vest over several years.
This vesting schedule gives employees an added incentive to stay with Apple rather than move to a competitor. Apple has reportedly faced employee retention issues, especially with Meta. Whether or not these bonuses are enough to offset the frustration of working in person remains to be seen.
A final important piece of context is that another wave of COVID-19 is brewing in the United States. This variant, dubbed BA.2, is a sub-variant of the highly infectious Omicron variant. While the magnitude of this surge is unclear, many Apple employees have expressed concern about returning to work amid the uncertainty caused by this new variant.
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