Apple CEO Tim Cook asked employees in an email Wednesday to return to office work three days a week beginning in September, a sign that the company is slowly returning to normal corporate operations.
In an email seen by The edge, Cook said that most of the staff expected to come to the office on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, leaving Wednesday and Friday as optional work from home. Those on teams that require face-to-face time are asked to come in four to five days a week, according to the report.
“Despite all that we have been able to accomplish while many of us have been apart, the truth is that something essential has been missing in the last year – each other,” Cook said. “Video conferencing calls have reduced the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things that you just can’t replicate.”
Employees who have become accustomed to working from home will be able to connect remotely for up to two weeks a year, depending on the approval of team leaders.
Cook and other top executives have repeatedly stated in previous interviews that remote work is not a substitute for in-person assistance. The company has long believed that employee mix is a vital ingredient for innovation. The late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was such a proponent of the philosophy that he helped design Apple Park’s main building, effectively a large ring, to facilitate chance encounters.
Apple first launched the idea of remote work for Cupertino staff in March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic swept across the country. Since then, the company has taken steps to protect its workers, including offering paid time off for vaccines. Cook again urged employees to get vaccinated in Wednesday’s email.
“I know I’m not the only one missing the buzz of activity, energy, creativity and collaboration from our in-person meetings and the sense of community we’ve all built,” Cook said.