Apple Postpones Return-to-Office Amidst Pandemic Uncertainty

Apple has pushed back its return-to-office to an undefined date, according to new reports. That’s on the heels of Google announcing it would push its own reopening date from January 2022 to later in the year. 

Apple will also give employees $1,000 for work-from-home needs, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman (hat tip to The Verge, which confirmed that bonus, for the original link). Apple employees were originally scheduled to return to their office desks in February 2022, but a rise in COVID-19 infections nationwide may have persuaded Apple CEO Tim Cook to delay things.

Once employees return, Apple plans on allowing most of them to engage in a hybrid workweek (heading into the office Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays). Tim Cook isn’t the biggest fan of all-remote work. “For all that we’ve been able to achieve while many of us have been separated, the truth is that there has been something essential missing from this past year: each other,” he wrote in an email earlier this year. “I know I’m not alone in missing the hum of activity, the energy, creativity and collaboration of our in-person meetings and the sense of community we’ve all built.”

Apple’s embrace of hybrid work is echoed by other large tech companies such as Amazon and Google. Although technologists learned to work effectively from home over the course of the pandemic, many managers feel that an “office-centric culture” is best for collaboration and communication. 

Fortunately, Dice’s 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report (and other surveys) have found that technologists find the prospect of hybrid workweeks extremely desirable. While working from home offers a lot of flexibility, many technologists (especially younger ones) also appreciate the chance to work together in-person. But whether supervising a hybrid or all-remote team, managers need to keep in mind that frequent communication is necessary in order to ensure that all team members feel included, listened to, and effective.