Apple Inc. sent a memo today to its corporate headquarters in San Francisco saying most of the staff will now not be asked to attend the office for three days a week, citing a rise in COVID-19 cases as the reason.
The original plan was to have staff go into the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. That has now been scrapped, with Apple saying that when workers are at the office and in common areas, they will also be expected to wear a mask.
Apple, like many tech companies, has throughout the pandemic told workers that they can stay home and work remotely. The 12,000-person staff at the HQ has for the most part embraced that, and some took issue when Chief Executive Tim Cook started talking about bringing them back.
Right now, Google LLC has adopted a three-day work week policy, while Microsoft Corp. has told staff they can reach an agreement with management to arrange a hybrid work plan. Meta Platforms Inc. said earlier this year it was planning to bring most people back to the office and Amazon.com Inc. is still letting its office staff choose where they want to work.
Perhaps worrying to some of those companies is a recent survey that revealed many office employees would consider leaving their positions if they were asked to return to normal office hours. Just a few days ago, The Wall Street Journal talked about a “rebellion against the return to the office” at tech companies, which it seems is in full flow.
“We’ll make changes to other locations as required,” the Apple memo stated. “We’re continuing to monitor local data closely and are committed to providing at least two weeks’ notice of any changes.” Once COVID cases dropped in April this year, Apple had told employees to go to the office once a week, and then a month later, the company increased that to two days. The three-day plan was due to go into effect next week.
Some employees were not impressed with this plan, starting a group called “Apple Together,” citing their well-being and worker rights as the reason Apple should rethink its order. “We are not asking for everyone to be forced to work from home,” they said. “We are asking to decide for ourselves, together with our teams and direct manager, what kind of work arrangement works best for each one of us, be that in an office, work from home, or a hybrid approach.” Some 1,445 employees put their names on the document.