Some Apple employees are bristling over the company’s requirement that will soon call for most of its corporate workers to be in the office at least three days per week.
The employees, organizing under a newly-formed group known as Apple Together that advocates for workers’ well-being and rights, are petitioning leadership for more flexibility. They’re also calling out a disconnect between the company’s external marketing to customers that its products allow people to “work from anywhere” and its internal messaging to staffers. “How can we understand what problems of remote work need solving in our products, if we don’t live it?” reads an open letter addressed to company leadership and published Friday on Apple Together’s website.
MacDailyNews Take: Well, you’ll still be living it at least two days a week… Oh, but, let’s be honest, we all know you don’t really do much actual work from home (which is why you’re bristling over having to return to actual work).
Apple’s hybrid return pilot initially drew backlash in June 2021 after it was outlined to staffers, but Apple, like most companies, pushed back the rollout as a result of new Covid-19 variants in the fall and winter. Following the delays, Apple began its phased approach to getting workers back into the office, beginning with once a week at the beginning of April before upping to twice a week more recently. The company outlined its most recent timeline for employees in an email, the text of which was published by The Verge.
MacDailyNews Note: The full text of Cook’s email, verbatim:
As our response to COVID-19 continues to evolve, I’d like to share an update on our plans to return to our offices.
In many locations, officials have started lifting pandemic restrictions in accordance with the guidance of public health experts. And based on the latest data, we are optimistic that this progress will continue into the spring.
While many of you have been coming in regularly for quite some time, we are now looking forward to welcoming those of you who shifted to working remotely back to our corporate offices. In the United States, beginning on April 11, we’ll begin the phased approach to the hybrid pilot, with teams returning to the office initially one day a week, and then, beginning in the third week, two days a week. This transitional period will now be extended from four to six weeks.
We will then begin the hybrid pilot in full on May 23, with people coming to the office three days a week — on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday — and working flexibly on Wednesday and Friday if you wish.
Though the timing may vary to some degree in different countries/sites based on local conditions, we will follow the same process wherever we are not yet back in the office. You’ll hear more details from your local teams on specific timing as it applies to your location.
As a reminder, our offices and many services like Caffè Macs and our espresso bars are currently open and many people are already coming in each week. Between now and April 11, I encourage you to join them, whether it’s to grab coffee with a colleague, check out your workspace, or hold a team meeting.
Due to the decline in active cases, most, if not all of Apple’s U.S. sites will revert to being mask-optional over the next few weeks. As always, we will continue monitoring local conditions and are prepared to adjust our protocols as necessary for the health of our teams and communities. I also want to make clear that you are always welcome to wear a mask and you should feel comfortable doing so. And I want to reiterate the vital importance of getting the vaccine and a booster if you are able to. You can always find the latest on our protocols on Welcome Forward.
For many of you, I know that returning to the office represents a long-awaited milestone and a positive sign that we can engage more fully with the colleagues who play such an important role in our lives. For others, it may also be an unsettling change. I want you to know that we are deeply committed to giving you the support and flexibility that you need in this next phase — a commitment that begins with this gradual introduction of our hybrid pilot and includes the option to work remotely for up to four weeks a year. If you have any questions, you can find more details on the People site.
As we begin this pilot, we are looking forward to learning as we go and adjusting where we need to, all in service of fostering a really collaborative and flexible approach to our work together.
In the meantime, I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to being together again. And I want to thank each and every one of you. Whether you’ve been working from home or coming into our stores, labs, or offices, you have been an essential part of this incredible team, and I am so grateful for all that you bring to Apple.
In the coming weeks and months, we have an opportunity to combine the best of what we have learned about working remotely with the irreplaceable benefits of in-person collaboration. It is as important as ever that we support each other through this transition, through the challenges we face as a team and around the world. I look forward to being together and to learning together during this pilot as we continue to build on the culture that makes Apple such an incredible place.
Friday’s [open letter from “Apple Together”] calls the pilot a “step back in flexibility for many of our teams,” comes in anticipation of the last phase of Apple’s pilot, which is slated to go into effect at the end of May, where workers will be expected in the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
It spells out specific reasons they’re taking issue with the pilot, ranging from forcing workers to unnecessarily commute — “a huge waste of time as well as both mental and physical resources” — to what they see as an inevitable impact on diversity. “Apple will likely always find people willing to work here, but … being in the office at least 3 fixed days of the week … will make Apple younger, whiter, more male-dominated, more neuro-normative, more able-bodied, in short, it will lead to privileges deciding who can work for Apple, not who’d be the best fit,” the letter added.
One of the organizers, an employee who works on hardware engineering in the Bay Area and asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, told CNN Business that there are roughly 200 workers who are engaged with Apple Together.
MacDailyNews Take: When Apple’s three-day in-office work policy is enacted on May 23, employees will be required to be in the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, with most able to “work” remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays.
So, let’s be real, the amount of “work” that will get done on Fridays is pretty much nil. Therefore, Apple corporate employees have an implicit four-day workweek. Make it three-and-a-half days; Wednesdays will be a “take it easy day,” too.
Expect less to get done than in the pre-COVID panic days – it’s virtually guaranteed (pun intended) – until the labor market loosens and companies can once again begin requiring employees to put in a full workweek.
Now, according to this relative handful of “Apple Together” geniuses who are, if Apple management retains any shred of sanity*, vying mightily for pink slips: Only young, white, male, heterosexuals are capable of making it to work three days a week.
Puleeze. Can the crap.
The only people who complain of having to go into the office to actually work for three whole days are, to use the scientific parlance: lazy assholes.
So, Apple’s management should collectively grow a pair and promptly extend a parting cordiality to the “Apple Together” wannabe layabouts: Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.
Employees who don’t want to return to work in person should pound sand either of their own volition or via pink slip.
“The inclusivity that flexibility brings?” Bullshit nonsense.
Returning to offices in early September is already ridiculously late.
There are literally millions of qualified, talented, driven people who would gladly work five – gasp! – whole days a week in the office for Apple.
Get back to work or get lost.
Successful companies like Apple don’t run on layabouts who’ve already enjoyed a very lengthy year-plus extended vacation and who are now ruined.
If these employees don’t quickly wake and wise up, cut them loose, Apple. Swing the axe, don’t coddle them.
I do not adopt softness towards others because I want to make them better. — Steve Jobs
Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. — Steve Jobs
“A” players attract “A” players. “B” players attract “C” players. — Steve Jobs
*debatable, given how interminably long Apple’s weak-kneed management have allowed this scamdemic work-from-home farce to continue.
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