Apple employees are threatening to quit over the company’s “strict” remote work policy, which requires workers to be in office at least three days a week after more than a year of remote work. The company’s employees are not happy with the requirement and have penned a letter to the management.
“Over the last year we often felt not just unheard, but at times actively ignored,” the letter says. “Messages like, ‘we know many of you are eager to reconnect in person with your colleagues back in office’, with no messaging acknowledging that there are directly contradictory feelings amongst us feels dismissive and invalidating. It feels like there is a disconnect between how the executive team think about remote/location-flexible work and the lived experience of many of Apple’s employees.”
Last month, Apple announced a hybrid work schedule that will see employees return to the office for three days a week, starting in September. This was to shift towards a normal corporate operations after the COVID-19 pandemic forced a lengthy work-from-home period. But participants of what is assumed to be the same remote work advocacy Slack channel cited by The Verge asked more flexibility. They said working from home brings a number of benefits including greater diversity and inclusion in retention and hiring.
Employees claim Apple is denying exceptions to the in-office rule that it once allowed. For example, one unnamed employee who is currently allowed to work at home through an ADA accommodation said Apple will deny the exception in September. “Apple will apparently make exceptions for people with undocumented medical conditions, but acquiring that accommodation reportedly requires employees to confirm their status by releasing medical records to the company. The demand made some employees uncomfortable,” the report said.
Apple employees say embracing remote work is paramount for the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts. “For inclusion and diversity to work, we have to recognize how different we all are, and with those differences, come different needs and different ways to thrive,” they said. “We are formally requesting that Apple considers remote and location-flexible work decisions to be as autonomous for a team to decide as are hiring decisions.”
Deirdre O’Brien, SVP of retail and people, Apple, in a video to employees late last month said the company believes in-person collaboration is essential to their culture and Apple’s future. “If we take a moment to reflect on our unbelievable product launches this 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.”