Apple employees are once again pushing back against the company’s hybrid work plans.
Apple’s efforts to bring employees back to the office have been fraught with challenges, with the company repeatedly pushing its return date back as a result of surges in the pandemic. The company finally began requiring employees to come back at least one day a week, starting in mid-April, and increased it to two days a week on May 2. By May 23, employees will be required to be in-person at least three days a week. In response, employees have sent the company an open letter voicing their objections.
Seen by Gizmodo, the letter calls out in-person office work as an outdated technology:
“Office-bound work is a technology from the last century, from the era before ubiquitous video-call-capable internet and everyone being on the same internal chat application. But the future is about connecting when it makes sense, with people who have relevant input, no matter where they are based.”
The letter also took aim at Apple’s reasons for wanting employees back in the office, “serendipity” and “in-person collaboration.” The letter pointed out how Apple’s secretive, siloed culture already didn’t lend itself to serendipity, while many roles within the company don’t require as much in-person collaboration as Apple is claiming, and could be accomplished on an as-needed basis.
Apple’s employees clearly want the freedom to make sensible decisions about where they work from, rather than a one-size-fits-all policy from management:
“We are not asking for everyone to be forced to work from home. We are asking to decide for ourselves, together with our teams and direct manager, what kind of arrangement works best for each one of us, be that in an office, work from home, or a hybrid approach. Stop treating us like school kids who need to be told when to be where and what homework to do.”
In case the point wasn’t clear enough, the letter drove it home even further:
“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.”
The employees’ arguments are further reinforced by the fact that Apple has been turning in stellar, record-breaking quarters, an indication that its employees have clearly been doing the best work of their lives…remotely.
Given that Apple’s engineers and other employees are prime targets for corporate poaching, Apple would do well to take the letter seriously. If it doesn’t, it may find itself experiencing a substantial brain-drain as its top talent quits in favor of other companies that “think different.”