Apple Staff Unhappy At Return-To-Office Memo

Frustrated Apple staff push back against Tim Cook’s demand for corporate staff to return to the office, and threaten to resign

Apple CEO Tim Cook is once again facing pushback from employees over the firm’s strict return-to-office policy, with some staff threatening to resign.

The New York Post reported that Apple has ordered all corporate staff to back-to-the office at least one day per week, beginning on 11 April.

Apple’s return-to-office mandate ratchets up to two days per week on 2 May and three days per week on 23 May.

Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino

Unhappy staff

This is a stricter policy than other big name tech giants in Silicon Valley, such as Meta, Google, Twitter or Amazon, all of which are allowing some employees to work remotely forever if approved by local management.

Apple however has a more conservative approach to remote working.

Indeed, Apple was well known for discouraging working from home prior to Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

In June 2021 Tim Cook wrote a memo, saying 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 under a year later, Apple is facing similar staff pushback to its return-to-office policy.

“I don’t give a single f—k about ever coming back to work here,” one Apple employee was quoted by the New York Post as stating on corporate message board Blind, saying they planned to resign the day they come back to the office.

“I’m going to go in to say hello and meet everyone since I haven’t since I started and then sending in my resignation when I get home,” the staffer wrote. “I already know I won’t be able to deal with the commute and sitting around for 8 hours.”

Another Apple employee responded with a laughing emoji and wrote: “I’m gonna do the same.”

“Hell YEAH my man let’s do this!” a third employee chimed in. “F–k RTO.”

Bonus anger

Matters may not have been helped last December, when it emerged that Apple was paying selected engineers a huge bonus in order to retain their services and stop their defection to Meta Platforms (Facebook) and others.

Apple reportedly issued significant stock bonuses to a selected number of engineers, ranging from between $50,000 to as much as $180,000.

Apple informed the lucky engineers in silicon design, hardware, and select software and operations groups of their windfall.

The payouts were not part of Apple’s normal compensation packages, which includes a base salary, stock units and a cash bonus.

Of course, those Apple staff who didn’t receive a generous bonus are reportedly not very happy about the matter, with some engineers reportedly believing the selection process was arbitrary.

No surprise

Meanwhile Callum Adamson, CEO and co-founder of the UK workforce company, Distributed, said it comes as no surprise that Apple’s employees are unhappy about the company’s plans to return to the office.

“Those businesses insisting on a permanent return to the physical workplace, even under the guise of hybrid working, are ignoring the preferences of the majority and demonstrating an ill-founded confidence in office presenteeism,” said Adamson.

Callum Adamson, CEO and co-founder Distributed

“If nothing else, a return to the office could negatively impact a business’ ability to attract skilled workers – never mind retain them – and undermines the efforts of an innovative company like Apple to be an outstanding employer and industry leader,” said Adamson.

“Other companies following Apple’s movements should not see this return to the office as a template for success,” said Adamson. “Remote working is good for employees and their career progression, which isn’t dependent on physical proximity to colleagues.”

“When implemented properly, remote working can actually allow for better 1:1 time with teams and managers, because it must be planned,” said Adamson. “Cultivating distributed teams also has broader benefits because each employee spends their money in the location they’re based, which contributes to better wealth distribution.”