Apple is Not Backing Down from Hybrid Model Despite Employees’ Discontent

Editorial use only, NO SALESMandatory Credit: Photo by BROOKS KRAFT/APPLE INC/HO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10952966f)Handout image released by Apple showing Apple CEO Tim Cook kicking off a special event at Apple Park.
BROOKS KRAFT/APPLE INC/HO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock / BROOKS KRAFT/APPLE INC/HO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Apple is doubling down on its request for employees to return to the office at least three days a week, despite its employees’ discontent about the hybrid model it had proposed last month.

See: Pinterest, Dropbox and More Companies Shifting to Fully Remote or Remote-First
Find: At Least 40% of Workers Are Contemplating Quitting Their Jobs

“We believe that in-person collaboration is essential to our culture and our future,” Deirdre O’Brien, senior vice president of retail and people, said in an internal video to employees according to The Verge.

“If we take a moment to reflect on our unbelievable product launches this past year, the products and the launch execution were built upon the base of years of work that we did when we were all together in person.”

Last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that employees would have to return to the office three days a week, but some of them pushed back, saying the decision has “already forced some of our colleagues to quit,” according to The Verge at the time.

As GOBankingRates previously reported, Cook sent out a note to employees saying they would need to return to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays starting in September. Employees can work remotely twice a week and also ask to be remote for up to two weeks a year, pending manager approval, according to the report. The decision is in stark contrast with other tech giants, including Twitter and Facebook, as the companies have told employees they can work from home forever.

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Some employees wrote a letter, which was started in a Slack channel for “remote work advocates” with 2,800 members, reported The Verge.

“We would like to take the opportunity to communicate a growing concern among our colleagues,” the employees’ letter said. “Apple’s remote/location-flexible work policy, and the communication around it, have already forced some of our colleagues to quit. Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple.”

See: Majority of Young White-Collar Workforce Sees Going Back to Office as Crucial to Career Success
Find: What If You Had Invested In Apple Stock Instead of Buying the First iPhone?

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The worker response isn’t necessarily a surprise: a May survey showed that 39% would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work, according to a poll by Morning Consult on behalf of Bloomberg News. The generational difference is clear: Among millennials and Gen Z, that figure was 49%, according to the poll.

Following O’Brien’s video, one Apple employee tweeted “while I am a fan of Apple’s hybrid model, I know there are colleagues out there for whom full remote work was life-changing & now an essential part of their lives. I am disappointed with the outcome as there will be great people who leave or can no longer do their ‘life’s work’.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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