After Tesla, now Apple sets deadline for employees to return to office

Apple employees will have to return to the office from September 5, 2022, albeit under the hybrid model. After Tesla, Apple has now issued a memo to all employees to start coming back to their base location to work at least three days from the office.

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While the world debates the future of work, large organizations that were advocating complete remote work until last year, have started taking U-turns one after another. After Tesla, Apple set a deadline for employees.

According to internal emails that The Verge viewed, Apple informed employees that they would have to return to work three days per week beginning September 5, 2022. All employees have got nearly three weeks to return to their base locations.

All employees within the Bay Area are expected to report to work on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. A third day to work from the office will be determined based on individual teams. Employees can opt to work remotely two days per week. However, while three days are made compulsory for employees to work from the office, the same is not the case with remote working for two days. Employees, who wish to work from the office for all five days, are not more restricted.

This news signals the beginning of Apple’s long-awaited hybrid work model. It was first announced on June 20, 2021. However, employees protested the announcement and started a wave within the company. These protests were quickly put to rest as Apple continued to delay hybrid work models due to the pandemic.

Looks like, Apple is not in a mood to delay the adoption of hybrid work culture anymore. The tone of the email sounds like a message with a warning sign attached to it. Employees who fail to adhere to the new hybrid culture norm are subjected to face severe consequences.

Employees belonging to the IT industry are the ones who are actively resisting the adoption of hybrid work culture. They argue that even to work for three days a week from the office, they need to deal with activities like local commute, and local accommodation, which are productivity killers. In an era of the internet and smartphone where staying connected and collaborating is no more a challenge making employees coming to the office mandatory is quite upsetting.

However, various studies have highlighted that neither complete remote working nor complete work from office is the future of work. The majority of studies highlight that hybrid work culture of way to move forward for organizations across all sizes and sectors.

Interestingly, many of the world’s richest billionaires are also not in favor of remote working culture. A recent study highlights that nearly 50% of billionaires only believe in working from home, citing productivity and culture as one of the most important factors that are not possible in remote or hybrid working. While 52% of the world’s billionaires support the hybrid model.

Last month it was Tesla that made headlines after issuing an ultimatum to employees to adopt the hybrid culture. Now the same is followed by Apple. Experts believe that it’s just a matter of time which is putting employees in a demanding situation. As the world is slowing syncing into recession and the talent war has started to end, organizations across the world would be tightening their grip.

Many believe that Hybrid work culture is just a tactic to get employees to sync back into the work-from-home culture. After two years of working from home, companies are slowly getting employees out of their comfort zone. Many are adopting it as a strategy to eventually kill the hybrid work culture after a year or so.

We’ve included memos from Apple’s CEO Tim Cook to employees below.

Team,

The early ramp-in phase of our hybrid work pilot has been a great opportunity to come together, reconnect with our teams, and meet new colleagues in person. This has been a transition for many of us as we’ve navigated changing case rates in many parts of the world, so thank you for your teamwork and professionalism as we continue moving forward.

I’m writing to you today with two updates, one about changes we’re making to our hybrid pilot, the other about its timing.

When we announced the pilot a year ago, we said it would be a learning experience for us all. And we committed ourselves to adapting along the way to create a flexible environment that enables our teams to thrive. Based on the feedback and insights we’ve received from you and your managers, we are making the following adjustment:

Teams participating in the pilot will come to the office three days each week with Tuesday and Thursday as set days across the company, but now the third day you come in will be decided by your teams. Each team will work through the decision about which day is right for them, and you’ll hear from your leaders soon. As before, many employees will have the option of working remotely two days a week. Depending on your role, you will also have the option to work remotely for up to four weeks a year.

We are excited to move forward with the pilot and believe that this revised framework will enhance our ability to work flexibly, while preserving the in-person collaboration that is so essential to our culture. We also know that we still have a lot to learn. And we are committed to listening, adapting, and growing together in the weeks and months ahead.

In terms of timing, many locations around the world are in different phases and you will hear more details shortly. For Santa Clara Valley, we plan to begin our new adjusted pilot with all employees in the office three days beginning the week of September 5th.

In the near term, we will continue to navigate the pandemic together as the situation evolves. We are monitoring the data closely and you will continue to receive updates on health and safety protocols for your location as necessary from our COVID-19 Response Team. In the meantime, it’s encouraging that children under five years old are now eligible for vaccination in many countries, and I urge anyone who is able to get a vaccine or a booster to do so if you haven’t already.

As we continue on this journey, I want to say how grateful I am for everything you do. I’ve never been more excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, the impact we can have on the lives we touch, and the outstanding team that makes it all possible. I look forward to working with you to create a flexible environment at Apple where, together, we can make an even greater difference in the lives of our users around the world.

Tim

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