During a virtual town hall meeting with employees on Thursday, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared new details on the company’s plan to return to the office following the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it “seems likely” that most teams won’t be back before June 2021.
The Cupertino, California-based technology giant has historically had an office-centric culture, but the CEO implied that the company’s success this year during the pandemic lockdown could enable more flexibility to work remotely in the future.
Still, Cook has been adamant publicly about his desire for staff to ultimately return to the office.
“There’s no replacement for face-to-face collaboration, but we have also learned a great deal about how we can get our work done outside of the office without sacrificing productivity or results,” he told staff, according to people familiar with the comments. “All of these learnings are important. When we’re on the other side of this pandemic, we will preserve everything that is great about Apple while incorporating the best of our transformations this year.”
MacDailyNews Take: Looks like Tim Cook has learned what a great many business leaders have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic: Remote work can actually work for many more people than they believed prior to COVID-19, but, in some areas, face-to-face collaboration is absolutely crucial.
We’ve “worked remotely” for the past 18+ (gulp) years. I’m the beginning, it was barely doable due to spotty connectivity. In the early years, there wasn’t connectivity on flights or in cars, so that made long trips tough. Later, when connectivity spread and we could work from anywhere, it became clear (to us, at least) that a great many people were wasting a lot of time and burning a lot of fuel to physically get to office where they’d have been more productive and more efficient if they just stayed home and worked remotely. How many hours wasted sitting in traffic! How many millions of gallons of gas needlessly burned!
Of course, to work well remotely requires some discipline. Some people need to go into the office in order to be productive. But a great many others who were forced to go into the office daily “before” may not have to “after.”
So, even COVID-19 has a silver lining as it proved to CEOs and managers that remote work can work in certain cases. Hopefully, they’ll use that knowledge going forward and not discard it by just falling back into the time- and energy-wasting commuter culture trap.