Apple Delays Next Stage of Office Reopening Due to COVID Fears

Apple is delaying the next phase of its office reopening plan, reportedly in response to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

According to Bloomberg, Apple will no longer require employees to return to the office three days per week after May 23. Instead, they’ll continue the current schedule of two days per week. A memo viewed by Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman gave no indication of when Apple will resume its three-days-per-week plan.

Apple has faced some internal criticism over its hybrid work plan. Earlier in May, Ian Goodfellow, a director of machine learning at Apple, resigned over the plan, reportedly suggesting in a note to staff that he wanted “more flexibility” for his team. A recent survey by Blind, which surveys anonymous technologists on a range of issues, found that three-quarters of (site-verified) Apple employees were dissatisfied with the company’s hybrid and return-to-office strategy.

For its part, Apple seems to recognize that not all employees are happy with the plan. “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 an employee 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.” 

But Apple isn’t the only big tech company facing some pushback over the particulars of hybrid work. At Google, some employees are reportedly upset at the lack of flexibility over which days they’re due in the office.

Despite that chatter, many technologists seem satisfied with the prospect of hybrid work, particularly younger ones. Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index shows that 58 percent of Gen Z are considering a job change in the year ahead (versus 43 percent of overall workers); 58 percent of them want hybrid work, while 56 percent want all-remote work. For executives and managers who want to retain their best and brightest technologists, listening to their work preferences is absolutely critical.