Enlarge / Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Few large corporations have had a more controversial internal row over remote working than Apple during the pandemic, but there is progress in moving many employees back to physical offices starting February.
As reported by CNBC, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced in an email to employees both a new return date and a revised home office policy for the people who make iPhones, macOS and many other products .
Cook described the return to the office as a “hybrid work pilot,” with multiple phases and different rules depending on the nature of each employee’s job.
Starting February 1, most employees will be required to return to the office one or two days a week. But in March the requirement will be three days a week.
That being said, the new arrangement will also vary depending on the team. Some teams that “have a greater need to work in person” have to come four or five days a week – probably the hardware teams and a few others, but we don’t know for sure.
This summer, Apple planned to bring employees back to the office in September, but as we previously reported, employees weren’t happy about it and started organizing a campaign to prevent this from happening. The Apple leadership finally moved the date to January, so announcing February this week means an additional delay.
In response to employee requests for more flexibility, Cook told Apple employees that they can now work completely remotely for up to four weeks per year. Here is an excerpt from Cook’s email on the matter:
We aim to give you more flexibility in the future. In addition to the option to work remotely twice a week on Wednesday and Friday, we announced this summer that team members can work remotely for up to two weeks per year with the approval of their supervisor. I am happy to announce that we are increasing the time you can work remotely to a total of four weeks per year. This offers more opportunities to travel, be closer to loved ones, or simply change your routines.
Prior to the pandemic, Apple was less remote-friendly than many other Silicon Valley tech companies, but almost all of its workforce was largely or entirely removed during much of the pandemic.
However, some other tech companies like Twitter have announced much more flexible long-term guidelines for working from home following their insights from the pandemic. What Cook described in the leaked email is far more conservative than what some technicians get at these other workstations.