Apple has once again altered its efforts to bring employees back, delaying indefinitely plans for employees to work in-office at least three days a week.
Like many large tech companies, Apple has repeatedly delayed its plans to return to the office as a result of the pandemic. It’s latest plans involved requiring employees to be in the office one day a week, starting in mid-April, and then two days a week from May 2 onward. Beginning May 23, Apple was going to require employees to be in the office at least three days a week. According to reports, however, Apple has suspended that last phase of the plan indefinitely.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is citing a rise in COVID cases as the reason behind the change. The company is also requiring masks in all common areas in its Silicon Valley offices. Similarly, roughly 100 Apple retail stores were told that mask mandates were once again going into effect.
Apple, more than many of its Silicon Valley counterparts, has struggled with the transition back to in-office work. Employees have repeatedly pushed back, sending no fewer than three letters to the company’s executives to protest its return-to-office policies. Many employees believe a return to the office is too restrictive and completely unnecessary. The latter point is hard to argue with given the record-breaking quarters Apple has turned in, not to mention the transition to its own custom silicon, all of which occurred during the pandemic when employees were working remotely.
“Here we are, the smart people that you hired, and we are telling you what to do: Please get out of our way, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, let us decide how we work best, and let us do the best work of our lives.”
While the company is officially blaming the pandemic for this most recent change, it’s hard to believe the backlash it’s receiving didn’t play a part as well. It remains to be seen if the company will give in to employee demands.
One thing is certain though: The longer the company’s employees work remotely, and the better the company continues to perform, the harder it will be to make the argument that employees need to be in the office.