Monday 7 June 2021 4:53 pm

Apple employees hit back over return to the office

Apple employees are pushing back against chief executive Tim Cook’s plans for a widespread return to the office.

In a company-wide memo last week Cook said staff must return to the office for three days a week from September, with some teams required to come back in four or five days.

But staff have launched a campaign calling for greater flexibility, and have accused the tech giant’s management of failing to listen to their requests.

“Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our wellbeing, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple,” they wrote in an internal letter seen by The Verge.

“Over the last year we often felt not just unheard, but at times actively ignored.”

The letter said there was a “disconnect” between managers and staff on the topic of remote working, adding that Apple’s policy had “already forced some of our colleagues to quit”.

According to the report, the letter was sent out to employees last week to gather signatures, although the authors insisted it was not a petition.

The memo sent by Cook said staff will be asked to come into the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with options for remote working on Wednesdays and Fridays.

However, the company will allow remote working for up to two weeks a year for staff to be “closer to family and loved ones, find a change of scenery, manage unexpected travel, or a different reason all your own”.

This failed to impress employees at the iPhone maker, though, and their rebuttal included calls for a company-wide survey on the issue.

They also said Apple should leave remote working decisions up to individual teams and information on the environmental impact of office working compared to remote working.

In a further sign of dissatisfaction, they said exit interviews should ask specifically about “employee churn” related to remote work.

Apple’s policy is similar to those rolled out by Amazon and Google, which have both announced plans to get workers back in the office.

It differs from other tech rivals Facebook and Twitter, however, which will allow many employees to work from home permanently if they want.