Monday, September 26, 2022

Apple workers revolt over return to office orders once again

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Apple employees have once again hit out at orders to return to the office after two years of remote working during the pandemic.

As reported by the FT (opens in new tab), a group of staff members has started a petition that calls on Apple to let employees work with their managers to establish arrangements that suit their individual needs, as opposed to enforcing a blanket policy.

The group, which calls itself Apple Together, will set about gathering signatures in the coming week, before passing the completed petition to the executive team.

Apple returns to the officeAlthough Apple has been eager to bring employees back to the office since the pandemic began, the return date has been repeatedly pushed back due to Covid-related developments.

Under the latest plan, detailed last week by CEO Tim Cook, workers will be required to attend the office on Tuesday and Thursdays, as well as a third day agreed upon with their immediate supervisor. The new hybrid working policy will come into effect as of September 5.

“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,” Cook wrote, in a memo delivered to all employees.

However, Cook’s enthusiasm is not shared with the members of Apple Together, who argue that a “uniform mandate from senior leadership” ignores the “many compelling reasons” that some employees are happier and more productive outside the office.

“We believe that Apple should encourage, not prohibit, flexible work to build a more diverse and successful company where we can feel comfortable to ‘think different’ together,” the petition states.

The latest clash can be seen as the continuation of a dispute that started in early May, when Apple Together published a letter criticizing the company’s return to office plans (at the time, the return date was set for May 23).

“You have characterized the decision for the Hybrid Working Pilot as being about combining the ‘need to commune in-person’ and the value of flexible work,” wrote the group. But in reality, it does not recognize flexible work and is only driven by fear. Fear of the future of work, fear of worker autonomy, fear of losing control.”

The letter went on to call for the Apple executive team to “get out of the way”, evoking a quote from Apple founder Steve Jobs, and leave employees to determine which style of working best suits them.

TechRadar Pro has asked Apple for a response to the petition.

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Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He’s responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.

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