Apple Delays Staff Office Return As Covid Cases Rise

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Delayed return. Staff at Apple will not return to the office until at least October, as Covid cases in US from Delta variant increase

Apple has delayed its plan for its staff to mandatory return to work in Apple offices, because of the increase of Covid-19 cases in the US, driven by the Delta variant (first found in India).

This is according to a report in Bloomberg, in which it said the tech giant had delayed the mandatory return to the office by at least a month.

It should be remembered that CEO Tim Cook had in early June issued a return to the office notice in a company-wide email, in which he said Apple staff should return to their desks for at least three days a week, starting from early September.

tim cook ipad pro

Mandatory recall

Cook said that most staff would be asked to come in to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, with the option of working remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays.

However teams that need to work in-person would have to return to the office four to five days a week.

Apple staff were also to be given the chance to work remotely for up to two weeks a year, but managers needed to approve remote work requests.

That mandatory recall was not entirely unexpected for Apple staff, as Apple is known for discouraging working from home prior to Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

Staff resistance

Yet Tim Cook’s recall notice did face internal resistance from staff, after an internal letter from Apple staff demanded more flexibility, and the letter also stated Apple’s policy has “already forced some of our colleagues to quit”.

The letter, addressed to Tim Cook, reportedly started in a Slack channel for thousands of “remote work advocates” at the tech giant.

But now Bloomberg has reported that the mandatory staff recall reportedly been extended “by at least a month to October at the earliest.”

It seems that Apple is one of the first tech giants to alter its plans in response to surging Covid-19 cases in the United States, mostly from the Delta variant.

Apple staff will will be given at least a month’s warning before they’ll be expected to return to in-person work, Bloomberg reported.

Rival firms

The issue of remote working at the moment varies depending on the company involved.

Google in April began accelerating the partial reopening of offices in the United States, and like Apple, sought to get staff to return to the office at least three days a week.

But a month later in May the firm backtracked somewhat and offered staff more flexible options for working at the office or home. It also announced that 20 percent of its workforce would be able to work from home permanently.

Twitter meanwhile has promised to allow staff to remote work indefinitely if they want.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicted in May 2020 that 50 percent of the company’s employees could be working remotely over the next decade.

Facebook also allows employees to work remotely full time and relocate, but those employees may have their compensation adjusted based on their new locations.

This gives some staff the option to relocate to US states where the cost of housing is more reasonable than it is in California.

Microsoft announced that it will allow staff who work at its Redmond sites and nearby campuses, to choose between returning to work full time, continuing to work remotely, or opting for a hybrid model.

Last October Microsoft had told staff it would allow more flexibility to work from home, even after it was safe to return to the office.

Microsoft staff can also ask their managers if they want to work remotely full time, or to potentially move to a new location.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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