The Verge reports that Apple is facing pushback on its return to office schedule. More than 2500 employees have signed a letter to CEO Tim Cook and senior executives that they are not willing to return to offices in September and will like a more relaxed remote work policy even after the pandemic is over.
A couple of days ago, Mr. Cook sent out a memo telling the employees that they will be returning back to offices in September. The new work routine will include three days in the office and two days remote work option. However, teams that require physical collaboration will have to come to the office four to five days a week. Mr. Cook encouraged all the employees to get vaccinated and said that,
“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. Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate.
For now, let me simply say that I look forward to seeing your faces. I know I’m not alone in missing the hum of activity, the energy, creativity and collaboration of our in-person meetings and the sense of community we’ve all built.”
Although Mr.Cook’s tone in the letter was welcoming and polite, unhappy employees are not yet ready to return to offices and said that “over the last year we often felt not just unheard, but at times actively ignored.”
Apple employees are requesting the management to have a more flexible and inclusive remote-work policy
The Verge reports that around 2800 Apple employees are members of the ‘remote work advocates’ and have written back to Mr.Cook requesting to revisit his decision. Complaining that, the company’s executive team’s feelings contradict theirs “directly” which makes them feel “dismissive and invalidating” and “there is a disconnect between how the executive team thinks about remote / location-flexible work and the lived experiences of many of Apple’s employees.”
In the letter, it was mentioned that the new remote work set-up proved to be successful for the company because they were able to deliver quality products and achieve record-breaking revenue.
This past year has been an unprecedented challenge for our company; we had to learn how to deliver the same quality of products and services that Apple is known for, all while working almost completely remotely. We did so, achieving another record-setting year. We found a way for everyone to support each other and succeed in a completely new way of working together — from locations we were able to choose at our own discretion (often at home).
The COVID-19 pandemic taught a new lesson that employees are more productive in conducive environments outside the office. And is not only beneficial on a professional but also on a personal level.
For many of us at Apple, we have succeeded not despite working from home, but in large part because of being able to work outside the office. The last year has felt like we have truly been able to do the best work of our lives for the first time, unconstrained by the challenges that daily commutes to offices and in-person co-located offices themselves inevitably impose; all while still being able to take better care of ourselves and the people around us.
We have already piloted location-flexible work the last 15 months under much more extreme conditions and we were very successful in doing so, finding the following benefits of remote and location-flexible work for a large number of our colleagues:
- Diversity and Inclusion in Retention and Hiring
- Tearing Down Previously Existing Communication Barriers
- Better Work Life Balance
- Better Integration of Existing Remote / Location-Flexible Workers
- Reduced Spread of Pathogens
Therefore, it is requested that the executive team consider remote and location-flexible work decisions to be as autonomous for a team to decide as are hiring decisions, carry company-wide survey, feedback process, insight into the environmental impact of returning to onsite in-person work, and more. Read the complete letter here.