back to article Leaked Apple memo tells employees that they'll be coming into the office at least 3 days a week from September

It's safe to say that many Apple employees aren't particularly enthused about the return to the office but HQ isn't backing down, as demonstrated by a leaked video message sent to the workforce. Earlier this month, the company said it would adopt a hybrid working pattern from September, provoking some employees to quit as a …

  1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    WTF?

    First world problems

    …feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple

    Ah, bless their privileged little hearts! Maybe they'll think of offering the same terms to refuse workers, power engineers or medical staff!

    Or, they could just read their employment contracts. You take Timmy's shilling, you do what he says.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: First world problems

      > Maybe they'll think of offering the same terms to refuse workers, power engineers or medical staff!

      Ah, bless their privileged little hearts! Maybe they'll think of offering the same terms to sewer divers, crime scene cleaners or artificial insemination technicians!

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: First world problems

        crime scene cleaners or artificial insemination technicians!

        The WFH options there don't bear thinking about...

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: First world problems

      > or being a part of Apple

      Part of Apple costs, but not profits :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: First world problems

      COVID let the home-working genie out of the bottle and it does not want to go back in. Where I work there are people working from home one day every week and I work in a location with no community cases or transmission. Everyone now believes that being at home is an entitlement. Wait until the first claim goes in for workplace health and safety when someone gets injured at home - that will start to sort things out.

  2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    "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."

    So, they don't actually know what the effect of remote collaborative working is yet? Maybe if this years and/or next years launches go ok, they'll eat a little bit of humble pie?

    1. Snake Silver badge

      RE: Correction

      "If we take a moment to reflect on our incredible, designer-built and iconic California headquarters, you'll realize that we as a corporation have a lot invested in our real estate values. If workers no longer need the public and work spaces that we built for your enslavement daily work, then we stand to lose a substantial sum as said values on corporate offices decline worldwide.

      We therefore need every wage slave, err every worker brainwashed to the value of mass corporatism - let's try that again - valued Apple employee, to occasionally come in to visit their personal workspace in order for us to continue justifying both middle management's income / status, as well as the enslavement continuation of 'corporate culture'."

      FIFY

      1. Sceptic Tank Bronze badge
        Big Brother

        Re: RE: Correction

        I don't think anybody is forced to work there.

        1. Snake Silver badge

          Re: not forced to work here

          Sarcasm regarding general societal corporate brainwashing didn't come through, I guess...

  3. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Tough Call

    I managed development teams for many years and have been responsible for recruitment, development, appraisals, discipline, pay-rises, promotions, mentoring, etc. Many of these depend on seeing how people work, not just in a project team, but in the company, with customers, with awkward people, with directors (!)....etc. An engineering graduate will be taken on mainly because they got a good, relevant degree. But they might be destined to be a technical leader, a systems engineer, a project manager, a test lead, a function manager, a commercial officer......etc. For many of these roles I'd find it hard to judge their potential if I only ever saw them on zoom and when they came to the office for project-specific meetings. I had a guy who was desperate to move into "management" but delegating most of my work to him while I had a week off disabused both of us of his suitability. Another engineer's potential as a leader only became obvious when he diffused a difficult situation in the canteen one day - nothing to do with work.

    Also, shit but true, for the vast majority of engineers, their pay rise will correlate strongly with their personal attendance at work.

    I'm an old git, and I assume that with enough time, thought, tools, etc. that things could be made to change. Problem is, as the Apple case shows, most of today's managers are also relatively old gits and I don't know if you can teach an old git new tricks.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Tough Call

      "Many of these depend on seeing how people work, not just in a project team, but in the company, with customers, with awkward people, with directors (!)....etc."

      I find this a little strange. If their job is related to interacting with customers, for example, then you'll see how they do that when that interaction takes place. Similarly for any other meeting they have. The interactions which they need to do their job are ones you can use to determine this. While someone's non-work-related discussions may help to understand them better, the important stuff which indicates whether they can do what is needed should be part of their job. After all, you didn't figure out that the employee wasn't management material until they tried to do that work, right? You didn't just decide they weren't capable after watching them talk to someone else.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Tough Call

        I think the point is that, appealing as it might be to assess people solely on their outputs, experience suggests that this is never sufficient.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Tough Call

          What does that have to do with physical proximity?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Tough Call

      "I'm an old git, and I assume that with enough time, thought, tools, etc. that things could be made to change."

      Git is, of course, one of the tools that enables remote development teams to work.

      1. not.known@this.address Silver badge

        Re: Tough Call

        A git is an awkward or obtuse person - it looks like Apple has a lot of gits. The word has been around a lot longer than some dodgy* data repository ;-).

        *poetic licence - if it was dodgy, people would not use it and it would not be as successful as it is.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Tough Call

          if it was dodgy, people would not use it and it would not be as successful as it is

          Counterpoint: Every non-trivial software system ever.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Tough Call

      I've had the same manager since the mid-1990s. We've never worked at the same location. None of his other direct reports work at the same location as he does, either. That's never been a problem.

  4. Sparkus Bronze badge

    stopped reading at the word

    "inclusivity".....

  5. skeptical i

    Monday, Tuesday, and ... Thursday?

    So, is this to deliberately sabotage four-day weekends?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Monday, Tuesday, and ... Thursday?

      I've seen the no-meeting Wednesday idea from a few people, presumably thinking that if you're going to be productive, it's nice to center it in the week. That's probably the reason it's one of the allowed days at home. Apart from that, if you believe as they are at least pretending to that in-person interaction helps productivity, then you have to have some method of determining that you're in at the same time as the people you would be collaborating with. I, at least, would not be interested in going to an office if there was a good chance those with whom I work won't even be there, as in that case the benefits to productivity of being present are negated.

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Monday, Tuesday, and ... Thursday?

      Anecdotally, around here (South Wales), since people started returning to work, Mondays and Fridays are less busy on the roads at commuting time than Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. 18 months ago the only thing that made such a noticeable difference was school holidays. If people are being encouraged to share work between home and office, is it any wonder that "home" days are more likely to be Monday and Friday?

      M.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Monday, Tuesday, and ... Thursday?

      If it is they did a poor job. I'd make them attend the office Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. No long weekends.

  6. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Given Apple's obsession with secrecy, they are probably deeply uncomfortable with having people work on new products outside of their (physical) walled garden.

    1. Sparkus Bronze badge

      might have been intended as snark, but you make a valid point re: walled garden and physical security.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "our unbelievable product launches"

    I wonder if, on reflection, she might have worded that differently.

  8. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
    Coat

    Hmm ...

    "To sweeten the blow, Apple said it would allow employees to work fully remotely for two weeks each year ..."

    Is that over the Christmas and New Year holidays, or during their annual leave?

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Hmm ...

      Damn pipped at the post (OK 6 hours) for exactly the same thought.

  9. ILikeDrinkingBeer Bronze badge

    Just for once, I agree with Apple

    I strongly believe that a similar sort of structure is needed for any company to successfully implement workplace-wide WFH policies. Both my wife and I work for companies that have basically shrugged their shoulders and allowed people to "WFH" in any way they like (because that's all modern and trendy, and all the big names are doing it, right?). I'm not sure either company now has a long-term future - not only has it ruined the workplace morale (apart from the few who enjoy endless chitchat and politicing on zoom), but it's hard a marked effect on collaboration and idea generation.

    A structured hybrid model, it seems to me, would offer the best compromise of both worlds.

  10. Velv
    Mushroom

    "That Apple’s remote/location-flexible work policy, and the communication around it, have already forced some of our colleagues to quit."

    Were they employed as remote workers or were they employed before the pandemic and worked five days a week in an Apple office?

    I can understand many people have benefited from emerging working conditions, and long may access to flexibility continue, but to claim Apple's "return to normal" has forced you to quit brings out the worlds smallest fiddles.

    Many people are required to be on site to do their job, I'm sure many would love flexibility but that just can't be the case for so many jobs. Three days a week is a reasonable compromise from five days a week, if you don't like it, you can resign, but don't try and claim you've been forced into it. I know plenty of people who hated being forced to work from home and are desperate to get some time back in an office.

    1. jtaylor Bronze badge

      "I can understand many people have benefited from emerging working conditions, and long may access to flexibility continue, but to claim Apple's "return to normal" has forced you to quit brings out the worlds smallest fiddles."

      I know people who were happy to come in to the office before the pandemic, and would be happy to resume doing so now, if only the other aspects of their lives also returned to the old ways. Some have children at home during the day, some have vulnerable people at home (elderly parents or a family member with compromised immune system).

      These people hired on so they could care for their family while earning a living. Those priorities haven't changed.

    2. Mark 65

      I'd argue that anyone who was employed during times of 5 days a week in the office and then quit once flexible working was wound back to 3 days in the office from full time work from home is likely not a great loss. If that's your reason for leaving then I feel you may just be a little bit lazy and a little bit entitled. After all, 5 days a week was fine when you got the job.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Happening at our office as well

    Today is the first day where everyone is required to be back at our office full time. Lots of whining, pouting and complaining, and a couple of the Millennial and Gen-Z crowd have resigned. They somehow think that WFH is a right now, and something that should be maintained forever.

    Those of us deemed essential to business operations just smile and wonder if they are sad because they didn't get a participation trophy for surviving the pandemic.

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