A week after tech giant Apple issued return-to-office orders, workers launched a petition stating that the firm’s order could have negative effects on their wellbeing. A week ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly issued a notification that the workers in the San Francisco Bay Area are expected to report to the office at least three days a week from September 5.
As per the memo, employees are expected to be in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays and another day as instructed by their respective teams. Workers can work remotely twice a week. The memo added other offices might hear such details shortly," a Verge report said.
At present, many workers are going to the office two days a week, not three, as per reports.
Memo From Tim Cook
The early ramp-in phase of our hybrid work pilot has been a great opportunity to come together, reconnect with our teams, and meet new colleagues in person. This has been a transition for many of us as we’ve navigated changing case rates in many parts of the world, so thank you for your teamwork and professionalism as we continue moving forward.
I’m writing to you today with two updates, one about changes we’re making to our hybrid pilot, and the other about its timing.
When we announced the pilot a year ago, we said it would be a learning experience for us all. And we committed ourselves to adapt along the way to create a flexible environment that enables our teams to thrive. Based on the feedback and insights we’ve received from you and your managers, we are making the following adjustment:
Teams participating in the pilot will come to the office three days each week with Tuesday and Thursday as set days across the company, but now the third day you come in will be decided by your teams. Each team will work through the decision about which day is right for them, and you’ll hear from your leaders soon. As before, many employees will have the option of working remotely two days a week. Depending on your role, you will also have the option to work remotely for up to four weeks a year.
We are excited to move forward with the pilot and believe that this revised framework will enhance our ability to work flexibly while preserving the in-person collaboration that is so essential to our culture. We also know that we still have a lot to learn. And we are committed to listening, adapting, and growing together in the weeks and months ahead.
In terms of timing, many locations around the world are in different phases and you will hear more details shortly. For Santa Clara Valley, we plan to begin our new adjusted pilot with all employees in the office for three days beginning the week of September 5th.
In the near term, we will continue to navigate the pandemic together as the situation evolves. We are monitoring the data closely and you will continue to receive updates on health and safety protocols for your location as necessary from our COVID-19 Response Team. In the meantime, it’s encouraging that children under five years old are now eligible for vaccination in many countries, and I urge anyone who is able to get a vaccine or a booster to do so if you haven’t already.
As we continue on this journey, I want to say how grateful I am for everything you do. I’ve never been more excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, the impact we can have on the lives we touch, and the outstanding team that makes it all possible. I look forward to working with you to create a flexible environment at Apple where, together, we can make an even greater difference in the lives of our users around the world.
The new memo has been issued as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organisations have relaxed Covid-19 safety precautions, which include sheltering in place after potential exposure to the virus, mask-wearing, social distancing, and others. It has also been reported that the metropolitan areas where Apple has its offices have reported less number of cases as compared to other areas earlier this year.
Petition against memo
In response to this memo, a group of workers within the organisation, who operate under the name Apple Together, have circulated a petition pushing back the return-to-office plan. The group has identified itself as a “global solidarity union of workers”. The workers have said that they are "happier and more productive" working from home.
Also read: Apple sends invite for September 7 event, expected to unveil iPhone 14 series
"This uniform mandate from senior leadership does not consider the unique demands of each job role, nor the diversity of individuals," the petition stated. "Those asking for more flexible arrangements have many compelling reasons and circumstances: from disabilities (visible or not); family care; safety, health, and environmental concerns; financial considerations; to just plain being happier and more productive,” it added.
As per news reports, the group is trying to propose a flexible system, whereby individuals can talk with their direct managers and decide on their working days without any compulsion or high-level approvals.
Earlier too, Apple had tried making similar arrangements to get back the workers. Initially, they attempted Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for work from the office. But the company's leadership had to postpone the shift in light of new developments in the pandemic last year.
Also read: Apple allegedly threatened to fire employee for revealing a security tip on TikTok
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