Employees want Apple management to ‘think different’ about office work
Apple has ordered its employees back to the office, and many are not happy about it.
A group of employees are circulating an internal petition arguing that the flexible work-from-home policy in effect for the past few years is resulting in “exceptional work,” according to Gizmodo (reporting on news originally appearing in Financial Times). The petition came about as a reaction to CEO Tim Cook’s recent announcement that Apple employees must appear in person in the office at least three days a week, effective September 5. The petitioners argue that such a blanket demand fails to account for those who work more effectively from home full time or with flexible schedules.
An unprecedented number of people throughout the U.S. have been working from home due to social distancing requirements imposed at the beginning of the pandemic. Some enterprises’ plans for full or partial returns to the office, including Apple’s, were put on hold in the summer of 2021 when the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus brought about a new wave of infection and led to the reinstatement of some social distancing measures.
But with the pandemic once again at a low ebb, the question of who, when and how frequently employees will be expected in the office is looming large.
A poll by Advanced Workplace Associates in February found that only three percent of white collar workers wanted to return to working in the office full time, Fortune reports. Eighty-six percent reported wanting to work from home at least two days a week, which would seem to fit the guidelines Apple is trying to impose.
Nevertheless, in the months leading up to the announcement of the current strategy, Mr. Cook admitted to not having all the answers on how best to manage the transition.
In June, Mr. Cook referred to the initiative to return to the office as “the mother of all experiments,” according to Apple Insider. He expressed a preference for in-office work because of the “serendipity” he believes occurs in workplace meetings, although he said that Zoom meetings were not inferior to in-person ones, simply different.
- Apple Workers Pound the Table for More Work From Home Options – Gizmodo
- Only 3% of white collar workers want to return to the office full-time – Fortune
- Tim Cook says return to office work plan is ‘the mother of all experiments’ – Apple Insider
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will companies with either full-time remote or hybrid work schedules have an advantage in recruiting and retaining white collar staff versus those with office-only policies? How should Apple respond to the blowback from employees over the revocation of full-time work-from-home privileges and more flexible schedules?