Bloomberg is reporting that Apple has directed most of its non-store workforce to return to the office starting on September 5.
“Each team will work through the decision about which day is right for them, and you’ll hear from your leaders soon,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in an email to employees. “As before, many employees will have the option of working remotely two days a week.” In other words, Apple still expects most workers to be in the office at least three days each week.
Thanks to the lingering pandemic, Apple isn’t alone in having been forced to continually delay its return-to-office plans. But it has been particularly tone-deaf in responding to the needs of its workforce, much of which has proven that it can work effectively from home. And instead of making meaningful compromises, it has instead insisted that most workers spend most of their time in the office, and not at home.
Apple scheduled four return-to-office dates in 2021 and was thwarted each time, and so it tried again in March and then May. But what hasn’t changed is its three days per week requirement. And Apple still says that many employees will be able to work remotely for up to four weeks per year.
Apple’s employees revolted over the three days per week requirement back in March, with several thousand signing a public letter requesting a more reasonable policy, but to no avail. Cook’s new memo addresses this implicitly.
“For all that we’ve been able to achieve while many of us have been separated, the truth is that there has been something essential missing from this past year: each other,” Cook’s email reads. “Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate.”