Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, led a companywide virtual meeting on Thursday to address concerns about the impact of COVID-19 and discuss the iPhone maker’s plan to return to work, and work-from-home arrangements for its employees. The meeting also discussed plans for employees to return to work in Apple’s retail stores.
Cook called the present crisis as an “uncertain and stressful moment,” which the company will surely recover from as it did after the 2008 recession and following a near-bankruptcy in the late 1990s. He said that Apple “isn’t immune to worldwide economic trends,” but that it entered the coronavirus pandemic with a robust balance sheet and stressed that the company would keep investing in research and development and future products in significant ways, according to Apple employees who attended the meeting.
If we stay focused on doing what we do best, if we keep investing, if we manage the business wisely and make decisions collaboratively if we take care of our teams if our teams take care of their work, I don’t see any reason to be anything but optimistic,” Cook told his staff.
Apple isn’t sure when its employees will be able to return to work. However, the company claims that proper measures like temperature check and social distancing will be put into action when its employees will be back at work. Testing for COVID-19 may also be practiced among its employees.
When asked about potential job cuts, the CEO talked about Apple’s strong financial position and pointed out that it has been paying retail employees while stores are closed. “I won’t tell you Apple won’t be impacted,” Cook said while stressing that his focus is on running the company for the long-term rather than making short-term adjustments.
Retail employees for the company have started virtual training from home ahead of its stores reopening. The company anticipates re-openings its stores in the US as early as May. The introduction of new devices like iPhone SE, MacBook Air, and iPad Pro in the past weeks have shown that the pandemic is not disrupting the tech giant’s plans for future devices and updates.
Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams highlighted during the meeting that the pandemic has elevated the importance of Apple’s work on health products, including the Apple Watch, and said the company’s development work in that technology isn’t limited to the wrist. He also said that the pandemic is pushing countries to help Apple roll out the Apple Watch’s electrocardiogram feature in their region.