Apple Employees Still Want to Work Remotely, Says Pushback Letter

Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent out a memo announcing a new policy that will require all Apple employees to return to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays starting in September.

Employees have now banded together to lobby for remote/location-flexible work policies in an internal letter addressed to Cook and the rest of Apple’s leadership — reports The Verge. While Cook “can’t wait” to return to the office, it looks like his employees aren’t ready just yet.

In the intricate letter, employees have basically submitted a plea with Apple execs to work together on a policy that would allow those who want to work remotely to do so on any day of the week — not just Wednesdays and Fridays as outlined in Cook’s memo from earlier in the week.

The initiative was conceived in a company Slack channel for “remote work advocates” that has garnered over 2,800 members, and around 80 employees collaborated on drafting and polishing the letter.

Apple employees believe that creating a location-flexible work culture at the company is key to the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts, given the individual circumstances and needs of every single employee.

The letter also touched upon Apple’s subpar handling of the switch to a remote work environment brought on by the pandemic.

“Apple’s remote/location-flexible work policy, and the communication around it, have already forced some of our colleagues to quit. Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple,” wrote employees in the letter.

Employees also noted that there seems to be an explicit difference between how employees view remote work, and how the top brass does.

“Over the last year we often felt not just unheard, but at times actively ignored. Messages like, ‘we know many of you are eager to reconnect in person with your colleagues back in the office,’ with no messaging acknowledging that there are directly contradictory feelings amongst us feels dismissive and invalidating…It feels like there is a disconnect between how the executive team thinks about remote / location-flexible work and the lived experiences of many of Apple’s employees,” states the letter.

In the letter, employees outline their demands as the following:

  • We are formally requesting that Apple considers remote and location-flexible work decisions to be as autonomous for a team to decide as are hiring decisions.
  • We are formally requesting a company-wide recurring short survey with a clearly structured and transparent communication / feedback process at the company-wide level, organization-wide level, and team-wide level, covering topics listed below.
  • We are formally requesting a question about employee churn due to remote work be added to exit interviews.
  • We are formally requesting a transparent, clear plan of action to accommodate disabilities via onsite, offsite, remote, hybrid, or otherwise location-flexible work.
  • We are formally requesting insight into the environmental impact of returning to onsite in-person work, and how permanent remote-and-location-flexibility could offset that impact.

The letter was circulated among Apple employees for them to sign on the afternoon of Friday, June 4. There has been no official response to the letter or comment on the matter from Apple as of yet.

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