Because of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, Apple has once again revised its health protocols for retail locations and corporate offices. According to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg, the company has informed employees that corporate staff will continue to come to the office twice a week and it was reinstating the mask requirement at retail locations.
Earlier this year, when there was a considerable decline in the COVID-19 cases, the tech giant removed the mask mandate at retail stores in March and welcomed its corporate staff back in offices in April with a hybrid return policy that required the staff to physically come to the office twice a week till May 20 and from May 23 onwards, they were required to work from the office thrice a week, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from May 23 onwards.
Apple’s new health protocols require retail staff to wear masks and corporate staff to work from offices twice a week
Calling the new health protocols the “latest setback in its efforts to return to normal”, the report states that the 3-day work from office plan for corporate staff, which was to go into effect on May 23, has been delayed until further notice. But, employees will still be working from the office twice a week. Furthermore, the mask mandate is reinstated “at least in Silicon Valley offices”
Apple was set to require employees to work from the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning next week — a policy that had been controversial among some staff. Already, employees have been coming in two days a week as part of a ramp-up effort that began in April. For now, that mandate isn’t changing.
The mask mandate is also expanded to about 100 Apple Stores in the United States.
The report also mentions that the company received pushback from corporate employees regarding its not-so-flexible return to work policy. Recently, Apple’s former Director of Machine Learning (ML), Ian Goodfellow resigned after three years over a “lack of flexibility” in the new return-to-office policy.
While the delay is related to Covid-19’s recent rebound, some Apple employees have complained about the return-to-work plan, saying that it limits productivity. They’ve said that commute time takes away hours that could be put toward their work. Employees have also complained that the office return ignored the lack of a vaccine for young children.