Apple Not Expecting U.S. Offices to Return to Normal in 2020, Encourages Retail Staff at Closed Stores to Work Remotely

With coronavirus outbreaks across the United States continuing to spike, Apple is finding new roles for retail staff as it closes more of its store locations and is no longer expecting corporate employees to fully return to on-campus work in the U.S. in 2020, according to Bloomberg.

Apple has been forced to re-close many retail locations in the United States that had previously reopened, with stores in California, North Carolina, Florida, and more shuttered at the current time. In these locations, Apple is asking retail employees to work remotely in work from home support roles that the company has been offering since March.

Retail employees are able to serve as support advisors to handle online service requests and questions from customers unable to receive services in store. Apple has not made working from home in this way mandatory for retail employees and has continued to pay employee wages, but the company is now pushing retail employees unable to return to stores to participate in the work from home program as the need for customer support representatives has grown, leading to long wait times for service.

"If your store is closed, please sign up for Retail at Home, please talk to your manager, because we really need to make sure that we shift our teams to greet our customers remotely in this time," O'Brien told staff in the video. "We may need to be working remotely for some period of time."

"This is not the experience that we want to have for our customers," O'Brien added. "So we really want to make sure that we are moving to where our customers are, to help them during this very challenging time. As you know people are really dependent upon their devices, especially right now."

For retail employees who are able to return to work, Apple is requiring masks. Apple is providing name tag lanyards that can be customized with Memoji to help retail staff be more recognizable with masks on.

Along with encouraging retail employees to work from home, Apple has also made adjustments to its corporate plans. Apple told employees in a memo that it does not expect all of its U.S. office workers to be able to return to their jobs on site before the end of the year.

Apple's offices in Europe and Asia, however, are expected to return to normal in the coming months with all employees returning to their jobs.

Some employees began returning to Apple's Silicon Valley campuses in May. Employees who have come back to work are offered optional coronavirus testing, with Apple also shipping test kits to both its retail and corporate staff at home.

Apple is limiting the number of employees allowed in buildings and specific work areas, plus it is requiring masks and conducting temperature checks.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

Top Rated Comments

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15 weeks ago


So they didn't need the spaceship campus after all. Maybe it can be converted into a homeless shelter

Eh, I still think that campus has a trick up its sleeve to enforce social distancing.



Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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15 weeks ago
So they didn't need the spaceship campus after all. Maybe it can be converted into a homeless shelter
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 weeks ago


How is this going to work with the iPhone 12 release in the fall?

Regions where people are well behaved and follow scientific recommendations get their iPhone 5G on time.

Otherwise, you're at the mercy of UPS.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
15 weeks ago
So grateful I was able to walk into an Apple Store in New York yesterday to get my laptop repaired because we’re actually taking the precautions seriously. We went through hell and back, and never want to go through that trauma again.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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15 weeks ago
I just wish Apple stores would remain open for curbside service. Having to wait a week for a screen repair is just a pain.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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15 weeks ago


So a retail employee at a closed location is continuing to be paid employee wages but can sign up to work from home as well? What's the incentive to work if you'll also be paid not to work? Are the wages/hours/benefits different between the options?

You get bored out of your mind if you are at home all day....by having work, it helps to pass the time, especially during these times.....

At least, that is my rationale to keep working from home, even though my company isn't checking up on me...
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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