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Apple plans return to office despite employee complaints

Tech giant wants three-day-a-week in-person work starting in the fall

Despite an outcry from employees, Apple is sticking to its plan to have workers come back to their offices starting in the fall.

CEO Tim Cook recently informed Apple’s nearly 40,000 employees the tech giant will transition back to in-office work three days a week beginning in September. Apple will expect employees to be in the workplace on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and work from home on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Like virtually all tech companies, Apple employees have mostly worked from home for the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, corporations are starting to bring employees back to the workplace.

In response to the Apple CEO’s recent announcement of the return to in-person work, a group of Apple employees wrote a letter saying some of them will have to quit. They asked that all employees have the option to continue working remotely.

But Apple is saying no. The company insists that any remote work arrangements will be decided on a case-by-case basis and require executive approval. 

“We believe that in-person collaboration is essential to our culture and our future,” said Deirdre O’Brien, senior vice president of retail and people, in a company video viewed by 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.” 

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Different tech giants are handling the shift to remote work differently. 

For example, Twitter will let employees work from home indefinitely. The decision came after Twitter found that its 4,600 employees can work from home successfully. 

Facebook is embracing some permanent remote working once the coronavirus pandemic subsides. Around half of the social media giant’s workforce will perform their roles outside of Facebook offices within 10 years. 

Facebook’s plan, which involves aggressively ramping up remote hiring, may also lead to pay reductions for employees in lower-cost regions, specifically those areas outside of Silicon Valley. This will be coupled with a measured approach to open up permanent remote working for existing employees. 

In contrast, Microsoft’s CEO has warned a shift to a permanent, all-remote team may not be the best long-term choice.

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