Apple Developing Hybrid 'Retail Flex' Work From Home Program for Apple Store Employees

Apple is developing a hybrid work model for its retail employees that would sometimes allow them to work from home, reports Bloomberg.

apple store palo alto
It may sound unusual for a retail employee to work from home, but in this case, it means that workers would be able to take on at-home support shifts in addition to their in-store shifts.

A "Retail Flex" pilot program is set to debut, which will see at-home employees handling online sales, customer service, and technical support as Apple expects that many people will continue to prefer online shopping over in-person shopping.

Apple retail stores were closed for much of 2020 amid the ongoing health crisis, but all retail locations have now reopened and are operational. When the pilot program launches, workers will move between their store and remote roles depending on demand in stores vs. online shopping at different times during the year. Salaries will remain constant regardless of where an employee is working.

Participants in the Retail Flex program are being asked to participate for at least six months, with the initiative to ramp up from September to December when new devices are set to launch. Employees will be reimbursed for some internet expenses and will receive $100 to put toward office equipment.

For corporate employees, Apple is implementing a work schedule that will see them returning to the office for three days a week starting in September. Some employees petitioned Apple for a more remote friendly work environment that would allow them to work from home permanently, but Apple's retail and people lead Deirdre O'Brien clarified that Apple's in-person work schedule is non-negotiable as in-person work is "essential" to Apple product development and company culture.

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Top Rated Comments

ghanwani Avatar
39 months ago

Participants in the Retail Flex program are being asked to participate for at least six months, with the initiative to ramp up from September to December when new devices are set to launch.
Now there's a leak. We now know there will be new devices from September to December!
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JPack Avatar
39 months ago
Training is the key here. Some of those retail reps were clearly not trained when they took calls from home last year.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ghanwani Avatar
39 months ago

Training is the key here. Some of those retail reps were clearly not trained when they took calls from home last year.
Are you sure it's not the customers that need training? :D
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alexandr Avatar
39 months ago

Are you sure it's not the customers that need training? :D
considering one side gets paid for this while the other pays(in devices) — no.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alexandr Avatar
39 months ago

Training is the key here. Some of those retail reps were clearly not trained when they took calls from home last year.
some of the reps in the stores are not trained. at least well.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Montana_Griz Avatar
39 months ago
I’m the director of production for a promotional company printing, assembling and selling tech-related merchandise (popgrips for phones, high-capacity USB drives, back-up batteries, etc—-if we can print on it or engrave it, we do it). Prior to Covid affecting the availability of the merchandise we were buying from (as luck would have it) Wuhan and other factories in Guandong region of China, and then the following 18 months of the pandemic affecting everything else in Seattle, we reduced our production staff from over 100, working 24/7, to 15 people working 9A to 5P, Monday through Friday. The sales and service people, art department and the other people who did non-production work were also reduced in number, and were allowed to work from home—-if they wanted. All but one took that option. Now we’re getting back to full capacity, and the production team are very happy to return to work. We made it clear to the other staff, though: you could be here Monday through Friday before the pandemic, so please plan on resuming your on-site work again, effective 1 September. I was happy the president/CEO made that decision, since we’ve been all about equality and equity from the start. A few of the office people took great umbrage with life returning to normal for the company and the expectation that everyone plays on the same team, turning in either immediate or eventual notices that they’re quitting their jobs. With the great availability of people in Seattle, I don’t foresee a challenge getting the positions filled quickly. Who wouldn’t like quarterly profit-sharing bonuses, up to four weeks PTO, 11 paid holidays, bringing your four-legged furries to work, tuition compensation and four blow-out company events every year? Well, apparently those who find commuting “gross” (a quote), and apparently a wealth of other better opportunities elsewhere. We’ll miss them, but we welcome a work environment of equity and inclusion for all workers.
It’s true: one can’t please everyone all the time, but efforts can be made to be fair to everyone, whenever possible.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)