Apple Goes More Flexible on Its Hybrid Work Policy

Apple employees will return to the office for three days per week starting in September, according to leaked internal emails.

While employees are expected at their office desks on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the decision on the third in-office day will be left to individual teams. “We are excited to move forward with the pilot and believe that this revised framework will enhance our ability to work flexibly, while preserving the in-person collaboration that is so essential to our culture. We also know that we still have a lot to learn,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in an email, according to The Verge. “And we are committed to listening, adapting, and growing together in the weeks and months ahead.”

Although Apple’s headquarters will open back up in early September, other company offices around the world may begin this hybrid schedule at different times. “Resumption dates may vary based on current conditions of COVID-19 around the world,” SVP of software engineering Craig Federighi wrote in a separate email. “You can expect to receive site specific communications soon from the Covid-19 Response Team with timing details for your locale.”

The scheduling flexibility could certainly boost employee morale. Earlier in the year, Apple employees grumbled about the plans to reintroduce them back to the office. A May survey by Blind, which surveys anonymous technologists on a range of issues, found that 76 percent of (site-verified) Apple employees were dissatisfied with the company’s hybrid and return-to-office strategy. “[Sixty percent] of my team doesn’t even live near the office. They are not returning,” a verified Apple employee said in Blind’s discussion forums.

At the time, the plan was to have all employees come back to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Apple wasn’t alone in facing workforce pushback over it; at Google, some employees were also upset at having to come back to the office on set days.

It’s clear from numerous surveys that technologists prefer either remote or flexible options when it comes to scheduling. Apple’s executive team seems willing to offer that flexibility—but will company employees be satisfied with more control over just one day per week?