Some Apple Employees Reportedly Grumbling About Return-to-Office

Are Apple employees happy about their return-to-office schedule? A new report suggests at least some are grumbling about it.

According to Fortune (itself relying on information from Blind, which surveys anonymous technologists about a variety of issues), an undetermined number of Apple employees are upset about everything from the commute to the prospect of an in-office schedule they can’t control. “I already know I won’t be able to deal with the commute and sitting around for 8 hours,” one wrote on Blind’s message board.

However, it’s difficult to determine how many employees actually feel this way; these messages could hint at a much larger iceberg of dissatisfaction just beneath Apple’s quiet, placid surface, or they could represent the opinions of an angry few. To its credit, Apple seems to realize that many of its people may need a little time to adjust to the new schedule. “For many of you, I know that returning to the office represents a long-awaited milestone and a positive sign that we can engage more fully with the colleagues who play such an important role in our lives,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a recent email, according to The Verge. “For others, it may also be an unsettling change. I want you to know that we are deeply committed to giving you the support and flexibility that you need in this next phase.” 

Right now, Apple employees head into the office one day per week, a cadence expected to increase to two days per week by the end of April. By late May, it’ll be three days per week (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday). For many months, Apple has made it clear that it will discourage all-remote work, with Cook repeatedly citing the “energy, creativity, and collaboration” that come with everyone working in a physical office together.

Apple isn’t the only tech company potentially wrestling with employee dissatisfaction over hybrid work. In March, a Blind survey of 1,097 Google employees revealed that 66 percent weren’t happy about the idea of returning to the office three days per week. “I think companies should give employees the freedom to choose how they want to interact rather than being forced to attend [a] specific number of days,” one Googler mentioned on a Blind discussion forum. 

According to Dice’s 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report, 85 percent of technologists said they found the prospect of hybrid work anywhere from somewhat to extremely desirable. Many technologists rely on in-office time for mentoring and camaraderie. But as the rumblings from Google and Apple make clear, many technologists also want an all-remote schedule—or at least maximum flexibility to determine when or even if they’ll come into the office.