Apple Sets Sept. 5 Deadline For Return To Office

Tech major Apple Inc. has asked corporate employees to return to offices at least three days a week by September 5, Bloomberg reported. The latest deadline was issued following several delays to its previous deadlines amid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

As per the report, the company will require employees to work from offices on Tuesdays, Thursdays and a regular third day to be determined by individual teams.

The new policy, which was notified to employees, is expected to first take effect in Silicon Valley and then spread to other offices. Apple has been continuing with its plan of two days in office a week since April as COVID-19 cases declined and local governments loosened restrictions.

The Cupertino, California-based company’s initial three-day policy had called employees for in-person work on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

Since CEO Tim Cook’s initial announcement regarding the hybrid model, the iPhone maker has been shifting many deadlines amid COVID-19 spikes in between, leaving workers on a two-day-a-week schedule.

Apple recently dropped its mask mandate in common areas of offices. At individual desks, the requirement was removed several months ago.

In May, the company had again required its staff to wear masks in common spaces, meeting rooms, hallways, and elevators, as well as at 100 U.S. stores.

Also, for the first time since 2019, the company held an in-person gathering at its campus to watch a developers’ conference presentation.

Like many other major companies, Apple had allowed its employees to work remotely after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. The hybrid work model has been a part of its efforts to return to normal functioning.

Meanwhile, the employees have been objecting to the hybrid office return plan, saying that it limits productivity. They pointed out that commute time takes away hours that could be put toward their work.

In early May, in an open letter to the iPhone maker’s executive team, a group of Apple employees had complained about the three-day policy, which only allows two days of working from home. The employees alleged that the policy is wasteful, inflexible, and will lead to a “younger, whiter, more male-dominated, more neuro-normative, more able-bodied” workforce.

Among others, luxury electric car maker’s CEO Elon Musk recently asked its employees to stop working from home and to return to office or else quit.

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