Apple tells corporate staff to return to the office on April 11
Employees will be required to work from the office at least one day per week by that date, according to a memo sent by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook on Friday. By three weeks after April 11, employees will be expected in the office twice per week. And on May 23, employees will need to be in the office at least three days a week—on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“For many of you, I know that returning to the office represents a long-awaited milestone and a positive sign that we can engage more fully with the colleagues who play such an important role in our lives,” Cook said. “For others, it may also be an unsettling change.”
The company has been trying to bring employees back to the office since last June, but had postponed the return deadline several times as COVID cases surged during fall and winter. Apple had previously postponed September, October, January and February deadlines before ultimately scrapping its return plans indefinitely in December.
“In the coming weeks and months, we have an opportunity to combine the best of what we have learned about working remotely with the irreplaceable benefits of in-person collaboration,” Cook said in the memo. “It is as important as ever that we support each other through this transition, through the challenges we face as a team and around the world.”
Apple has also told staff that they will get an additional month of work-from-home time for the year as part of a hybrid pilot program. Alphabet Inc.’s Google recently adopted a similar policy, requiring employees to work from the office three days per week. Other companies, such as Meta Platforms Inc. and Twitter Inc., have been less stringent, saying they’ll let some employees work from home indefinitely despite having corporate offices.
Apple has gradually loosened COVID-19 protocols across the company. It recently began to phase out its mask mandate at retail stores for both shoppers and employees and no longer requires office workers in some regions to wear masks if they are vaccinated. The Cupertino, California-based company has also doubled its COVID-19 testing to twice per week for all employees.
Masks will become optional at most U.S. sites in the coming weeks, Cook said Friday. “As always, we will continue monitoring local conditions and are prepared to adjust our protocols as necessary for the health of our teams and communities.”
Apple has corporate offices across the world, including in Silicon Valley, London and Japan. In the U.S., it has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin, Boulder, New York and Miami.
Read the full memo below:
As our response to COVID-19 continues to evolve, I’d like to share an update on our plans to return to our offices.
In many locations, officials have started lifting pandemic restrictions in accordance with the guidance of public health experts. And based on the latest data, we are optimistic that this progress will continue into the spring.
While many of you have been coming in regularly for quite some time, we are now looking forward to welcoming those of you who shifted to working remotely back to our corporate offices. In the United States, beginning on April 11, we’ll begin the phased approach to the hybrid pilot, with teams returning to the office initially one day a week, and then, beginning in the third week, two days a week. This transitional period will now be extended from four to six weeks.
We will then begin the hybrid pilot in full on May 23, with people coming to the office three days a week—on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday—and working flexibly on Wednesday and Friday if you wish.
Though the timing may vary to some degree in different countries/sites based on local conditions, we will follow the same process wherever we are not yet back in the office. You’ll hear more details from your local teams on specific timing as it applies to your location.
As a reminder, our offices and many services like Caffè Macs and our espresso bars are currently open and many people are already coming in each week. Between now and April 11, I encourage you to join them, whether it’s to grab coffee with a colleague, check out your workspace or hold a team meeting.
Due to the decline in active cases, most, if not all of Apple’s U.S. sites will revert to being mask-optional over the next few weeks. As always, we will continue monitoring local conditions and are prepared to adjust our protocols as necessary for the health of our teams and communities. I also want to make clear that you are always welcome to wear a mask and you should feel comfortable doing so. And I want to reiterate the vital importance of getting the vaccine and a booster if you are able to. You can always find the latest on our protocols on Welcome Forward.
For many of you, I know that returning to the office represents a long-awaited milestone and a positive sign that we can engage more fully with the colleagues who play such an important role in our lives. For others, it may also be an unsettling change. I want you to know that we are deeply committed to giving you the support and flexibility that you need in this next phase—a commitment that begins with this gradual introduction of our hybrid pilot and includes the option to work remotely for up to four weeks a year. If you have any questions, you can find more details on the People site.
As we begin this pilot, we are looking forward to learning as we go and adjusting where we need to, all in service of fostering a really collaborative and flexible approach to our work together.
In the meantime, I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to being together again. And I want to thank each and every one of you. Whether you’ve been working from home or coming into our stores, labs or offices, you have been an essential part of this incredible team, and I am so grateful for all that you bring to Apple.
In the coming weeks and months, we have an opportunity to combine the best of what we have learned about working remotely with the irreplaceable benefits of in-person collaboration. It is as important as ever that we support each other through this transition, through the challenges we face as a team and around the world. I look forward to being together and to learning together during this pilot as we continue to build on the culture that makes Apple such an incredible place.
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