Apple employees refuse to return to the office

Apple employees are rejecting the new policy that requires them to return to the office three days a week starting in early September. And employees say they want a flexible approach where those who want to work remotely can do so.

We would like to take the opportunity to express growing concern among our colleagues, the letter says. The flexible telecommuting policy, and communication around it, has forced some of our colleagues to resign. And many of us feel we have to choose between our families, our well-being, or being part of Apple.

Apple does not encourage remote work

The move comes several days after Tim Cook sent a note to Apple employees saying they need to return to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays starting in the fall. This is an easing of restrictions compared to the company's previous culture. Apple was notorious for discouraging employees from working from home before the pandemic. However, it is still more conservative compared to other tech giants. Both Twitter and Facebook told employees that they can work from home forever, even after the pandemic is over.

For some Apple employees, the current policy is not enough. A clear gap is emerging between how Apple's executives and employees view remote work. Over the past year, the message says, we haven't felt unheard. But sometimes we were actively ignored.

The message addressed to Tim Cook, began on the Slack channel of telecommuters, which has nearly 2,800 members. About 80 people participated in writing and editing the letter. Here are the specific questions the employees identified in the letter:

  • We formally ask that Apple consider decisions about flexible working remotely as independent as the team decides.

  • We want to conduct a short, frequent survey at the company level with a clearly structured and transparent communication process at the company level and at the team level covering the topics listed in the letter.

  • We are officially asking that a question about dwindling employees due to remote work be added to our leave interviews.

  • We want a clear action plan to accommodate disabilities through on-site, off-site, remote, or other flexible on-site work.

  • We are formally asking for insight into the environmental impact of returning to personal on-site work and how permanent remote and on-site flexibility can offset this impact.

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