Tech giant blames rising Covid cases as it again pushes back return to office deadline, and reinstates mask requirements for 100 US stores
Apple has cited rising Covid cases in the United States for its decision to push back, yet again, its deadline for staff to return to the office three-days a week.
Bloomberg reported that at the same time, Apple has reinstated a mask requirement for staff and visitors to 100 Apple Stores in the US.
Apple had previously ordered all corporate staff to back-to-the office at least one day per week, beginning on 11 April. Then from 2 May, staff were expected to spend two days per week in the office, rising to three days per week on 23 May.
Return to office
This led to multiple Apple staff taking to corporate message boards to pushback against the above deadline.
And it seems that Apple’s mandate was stricter than other big name tech giants in Silicon Valley, such as Meta, Google, Twitter or Amazon, all of which allow some employees to work remotely forever if approved by local management.
Apple however has a more conservative approach to remote working, and is well known for discouraging working from home prior to Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
In June 2021 Tim Cook wrote a memo, stating 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.
Cook’s recall notice last year prompted internal resistance from employees, with an internal letter from Apple staff in June 2021 being made public, in which the Apple employees demanded more flexibility.
The staff letter in June 2021 also stated Apple’s return-to-office policy had “already forced some of our colleagues to quit”.
Now Bloomberg reported that Apple has informed staff on Tuesday that it was delaying the requirement to work three days (Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays) a week in the office from 23 May.
Bloomberg cited a memo it had seen, which revealed the tech giant is still expecting workers to come to the office two days per week.
The company said the three day requirement is being delayed for “the time being” and didn’t provide a new date.
Apple has also reportedly told staff that they must again wear masks in common areas – at least in Silicon Valley offices.
Separately, retail employees were informed Tuesday that about 100 US stores will again require mask wearing by staff members as well.
Apple had dropped that requirement in March when cases eased.
A spokesman for the Cupertino, California-based tech giant declined to comment to Bloomberg.