With vaccination rates continuing to climb, Apple employees will soon have to go into the office at least three days a week. Apple CEO Tim Cook told workers that the change will go into effect in early September.
"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," Cook said in a memo seen by The Verge. "Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate."
Most employees will be asked to work in the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and they will have the option of working remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays, according to the email. Teams that require in-person work will return to the office four to five days a week.
Apple employees will also have the opportunity to work remotely for up to two weeks a year, “to be closer to family and loved ones, find a change of scenery, manage unexpected travel, or a different reason all your own,” the memo said. Remote work requests will need approval from a manager.
Returning to normal
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple was quick to allow employees to work remotely full-time. But before the pandemic, the company discouraged working from home.
“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,” Cook told staff last year. “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.”
In closing Wednesday’s letter to staff, Cook encouraged all employees to get vaccinated and said he was looking forward to the resumption of in-person work.
“For now, let me simply say that I look forward to seeing your faces,” he said. “I know I’m not alone in missing the hum of activity, the energy, creativity and collaboration of our in-person meetings and the sense of community we’ve all built.”