Apple CEO Tim Cook’s push for employees to return to the office for at least three days a week has met with opposition from some of the company’s staff. According to a group called “Apple Together,” which includes some employees who call themselves “remote-work advocates,” many employees are unhappy with Cook’s plan. In March, the company had threatened disciplinary action against employees who did not attend work three days a week.
As part of the protest, Apple Together started a Twitter petition that argues that employees have demonstrated their ability to produce exceptional work from home. They received more than 1,250 signatures on their open letter which demands “location-flexible work.” Further, a person familiar with the issue revealed that Apple has had information about the large percentage of employees who feel that the return-to-office policy isn’t a good idea for a couple of years now. A remote-work-advocacy Slack channel with more than 10,000 employees is a testament to the growing demand for remote work.
In Cook’s memo, sent last summer, he had explained that preserving the in-person collaboration that is essential to Apple’s culture is the reason for the new policy. But many employees have responded, saying that most globally distributed teams don’t need to be physically present in an office to collaborate, and that this policy does not reflect Apple’s innovative personality.
Former Apple employees have also chimed in with their opinions. One former employee, who left the company because of its return-to-office policy, explained that open-floor concepts can be distracting, which can impact productivity. Furthermore, a person familiar with the matter argued that spending half the day or more on virtual conferences means that Apple’s argument for in-person collaboration is not a necessity.
Apple Workers Union, a branch of the global union, allows employees to voice their discontent with the policies on their website. Meanwhile, Apple sent a survey to employees in April asking for their opinions regarding the hybrid work model, but the company has yet to respond to requests for comment.