Apple Employees Protest Hybrid In-Person Work Plan

Amid the process of Apple employees returning to in-person work using a hybrid schedule, a group of employees represented by "Apple Together" are protesting the company's current hybrid working policy.

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Last month, corporate Apple employees in the United States began returning to their offices, ending a two-year work from home policy that Apple implemented during the pandemic. Employees at locations like Apple Park and Infinite Loop were given a deadline of April 11 to return to in-person work.

Apple is not forcing employees to return to the office five days a week, and has instead adopted a gradual return strategy and a hybrid home/office work policy. Apple employees were required to work from the office at least one day per week by April 11, at least two days per week by May 2, and will be required to work in-person at least three days per week by May 23.

When the three-day in-office work policy is enacted on May 23, employees will be required to be in the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, with most able to work remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Now, a group of Apple employees represented by "Apple Together" have penned a letter addressed to the company's executive team. It argues that Apple's hybrid working pilot "does not recognize flexible work and is only driven by fear."

The letter claims that Apple has hampered communication while strengthening the company's siloed structure, diminishing the "serendipity" that it said would be restored by returning to in-person work. Secondly, it argues that in-person collaboration simply is not needed every week or every month, and that Apple's hybrid working pilot is "one of the most inefficient ways to enable everyone to be in one room, should the need arise every now and then."

Now we ask you, the executive team, to show some flexibility as well and let go of the rigid policies of the Hybrid Working Pilot. Stop trying to control how often you can see us in the office. Trust us, we know how each of our small contributions helps Apple succeed and what's required to do so. Our direct managers trust us and in many cases would happily let us work in a more flexible setup. And why wouldn’t they, we've successfully done so for the last two years. Why don't you?

Or as Steve said: "It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do." Here we are, the smart people that you hired, and we are telling you what to do: Please get out of our way, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, let us decide how we work best, and let us do the best work of our lives.

It goes on to say that Apple's policy of three days in the office and two days working from home is a "smokescreen" that offers "almost no flexibility at all." The letter also attacked the "huge waste of time as well as both mental and physical resources" caused by commuting and claimed that Apple's current working policies have "a negative impact on diversity."

Apple has been eager to get employees back in the office and was forced to delay return dates several times. "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," Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees back in June 2021. "Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate."

See Apple Together's full "Thoughts on Office-bound Work" open letter for more information.

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