Apple staff will return to the office part-time this September

Apple CEO Tim Cook tells employees they will be required to work in the office at least three days a week beginning in September

  • Apple will be requiring its employees to work in-person three days a week starting this September
  • Some employees will return for a five-day schedule, depending on their job
  • Employees could apply for permission to work remotely for two weeks 
  • Other big tech companies will continue to allow remote work ‘forever’
  • An estimated 37 percent of Americans may still be working remotely by the end of 2021 

While a number of big tech companies have had their sights set on permanent remote work since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Apple has opted for a more conservative approach. 

CEO Tim Cook told employees Wednesday that they would be required to come back to the office at least three days a week beginning this September. 

In an email sent to employees and acquired by The Verge, Cook said: ‘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 been beneficial, Cook added, but it could not replace in-person collaboration. 

Starting September, most Apple employees will report in person on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Others will be returning for four or five days a week, depending on the needs of their job. 

Employees will also have the option to apply for permission to work remotely two full weeks out of the year ‘to be closer to family and loved ones, find a change of scenery, manage unexpected travel, or a different reason all your own,’ according to Cook’s email.  

Apple informed staff on Wednesday that they will be required to work from the office three days a week beginning in September. Pictured: Apple’s main campus in Silicon Valley

Google and Microsoft have adopted similar policies when it comes to working in the office. In an e-mail published online by Google and sent to its employees on May 5, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote that 20 percent of its employees could work from home, permanently, after its offices reopen later this year. 

He added that he expects 60 percent to work in-person about three days a week and the remaining 20 percent to work in new office locations. 

Pichai wrote that, by mid-June, employees will have more information about whether they could work remotely or if their job requires them to come back to their office. 

‘Since in-office time will be focused on collaboration, your product areas and functions will help decide which days teams will come together in the office,’ he wrote. ‘There will also be roles that may need to be on site more than three days a week due to the nature of the work.’

Meanwhile, Microsoft announced in March that it would continue operating on a hybrid schedule depending on the severity of the pandemic.

‘Our goal is to give employees additional flexibility to support individual work styles, balance business needs and ensure we live our culture,’ reads a post shared on its official blog. 

The post continues to say that the company aims to allow most employees to work from home less than 50 percent of the time.

By contrast, Facebook, Twitter and Square didn’t wait more than two months into the coronavirus lockdowns and remote working to tell their employees that they could continue working from home on a permanent basis. 

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey first began encouraging his employees to work from home in 2018 after he saw a personal spike in productivity by doing so. 

A press release published to Twitter’s blog in May 2020 reads, ‘. . . if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen.’

Facebook officials told news outlets in April that it would maintain its commitment to allowing employees to work remotely after the pandemic. 

A recent report by benefits consulting firm Willis Towers Watson found that 57 percent of American employees are currently working from home and 37 percent are likely to still be working from home by the end of 2021. 

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