Apple has delayed plans to bring workers back to the office three days a week as COVID cases in its home state of California surged once again.
The tech company blamed recent Covid-19 surges in California for the delay of the three day a week requirement. Workers must still come in two days a week, but it remains unclear when the three-day-a-week rule will be enforced.
Apple informed employees on Tuesday that it was delaying the three days per week in the office requirement, which was due to come into effect on May 23, Bloomberg reported.
Apples’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, are pictured above. The company delayed plans to bring employees back to the office three days per week citing Covid surges
Ian Goodfellow, Apple’s director of machine learning, has quit in protest at their policies forcing people back to their offices three days a week
A memo circulated to Apple employees said the requirement was delayed ‘for the time being,’ but didn’t include a new start-date.
The now-suspended plan required employees to work from the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Employees have been going to the Apple office two days a week since April, and there has been no indication that their requirement will be changed.
Apple blamed surging Covid-19 cases as the reason for the requirement’s delay, but the three day per week plan has been controversial among staff since it was announced.
The former director of machine learning at Apple, Ian Goodfellow, made headlines in May when he quit his job in protest at the company’s three days per week demands.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, is seen at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino. He has been adamant about bringing employees back to the office
In his resignation note, Goodfellow insisted that office flexibility was best for his team.
‘I strongly believe that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team,’ he said, according to The Verge.
Goodfellow is not the only Apple employee dissatisfied with new office requirements. A survey of workers from April 13-19 found 67 percent saying they were dissatisfied with the return-to-office policy, Fortune reported.
California has become a Covid-19 resurgence hotbed in recent weeks, with the New York Times reporting an average of 8,925 in the last seven days – a 37% spike in cases from the average two weeks ago.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been adamant about the return to office of his employees, insisting that a hardware-heavy company like Apple needs its physically employees together to design its physical products.
In early March, he wrote to staff saying they needed to prepare to return.
‘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,’ Cook said in the memo, according to Bloomberg.
California has seen a surge in Covid cases in recent weeks. There has 34% increase in cases over the last two weeks
Apple CEO Tim Cook insists that a hardware company like Apple needs its employees to be in the office to collaborate on the design of its physical products
Many employees however insisted that they can do the work just as well remotely, and that they don’t want to lose their work-life balance.
‘Everything happened with us working from home all day, and now we have to go back to the office, sit in traffic for two hours, and hire people to take care of kids at home,’ says a former Apple employee anonymously told Bloomberg in April, ‘Working from home has so many perks. Why would we want to go back?’
Employees have also been quick to point out that while they spend their days designing products that enable work from home across the world, they are required to return to an office.
‘We tell all of our customers how great our products are for remote work, yet, we ourselves, cannot use them to work remotely?’ an open letter signed by more than 1,050 Apple employees read.
‘How can we expect our customers to take that seriously? How can we understand what problems of remote work need solving in our products if we don’t live it?’