A group of Apple workers has responded to CEO Tim Cook’s announcement Wednesday that employees should start soon.. Your answer? Think different.
In an internal letter to Cook Posted Friday by The Verge, employees say decisions about the frequency of remote work should be left to individual teams and that there should be no “one size fits all” policy. They also say they have felt “actively ignored” on the issue over the past year and that some workers jumped ship as a result.
The lack of internal messages “acknowledging that there are directly contradictory feelings between us” regarding remote work “feels dismissive and invalidating,” the letter reads. “There seems to be a disconnect between the way the executive team thinks about remote / flexible work at the location and the experiences of many of Apple’s employees.”
“Many of us feel that we have to choose between a combination of our families, our well-being and being empowered to do our best work, or be part of Apple, “the letter says.” This is … a decision that many would rather not have to make. ”
Apple is known for believing that face-to-face encounters can foster business breakthroughs. The company’s elaborate donut-shaped headquarters reflects co-founder Steve Jobs’s notion that well-designed office spaces provoke haphazard interactions between workers, leading to the kind of casual conversations that spawn novel solutions.
But letter writers say the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that remote interactions can be just as effective as face-to-face ones.
“For many of us at Apple, we have been successful not despite working from home, but largely because we are able to work outside of the office,” the letter reads. “Last year felt like we could really do the best job of our lives for the first time, without the constraints of the challenges that daily commuting and in-person shared offices impose in an invitable way – all while remaining able to take better care of ourselves and the people around us. ”
Apple is just one of the big tech companies struggling to navigate work life after COVID. Cook’s plan appears to resemble the one unveiled in December by Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Pichai’s plan outlined a hybrid work model, with employees typically. In May, Pichai told employees in a memo that he hoped .
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that the social media giant will allow some employees, and Twitter made a similar announcement.
Apple employees would also have the option of working fully remotely for up to two weeks a year, but that arrangement would have to be approved by managers.
The response to Cook was written and edited by about 80 Apple employees, after starting out on a Slack channel for remote work advocates that has about 2,800 members, The Verge said. The company directly employs tens of thousands of workers.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment on the letter.
CNET’s Steven Musil contributed to this report.