Apple has been a bit more aggressive than most of the tech giants when it comes to returning to the office. However, due to yet another rise in covid-19 cases throughout the U.S., it appears Apple is pushing back the start of its return-to-office timeline by at least a month.
According to sources who spoke to Bloomberg, Apple has delayed the start of its return to office date until at least October or possibly even later as Apple reacts to changing local infection rates and health restrictions. Previously, despite some complaints from its workforce, Apple was planning to have most of its workers return to its offices at least three days a week starting in September, with some Apple employees already having shifted away from working remotely in spurts earlier this spring and summer.
But with the third wave of covid 19 infections (and possibly a fourth on the way) plaguing parts of the country and forcing places like L.A. to re-institute mask mandates throughout the county, it seems Apple has been forced to halt its return to office plans while the company reevaluates the situation.
In contrast, some of Apple’s biggest rivals such as Google and Facebook have taken a somewhat different approach to work routines in response to the pandemic, with Facebook giving its employees the choice to continue working from home or commit to working in the office around 50% of the time going forward. And back in May, Google made a more long-lasting decision to allow its employees to continue working remotely for as long they want, though Google CEO Sundar Pichai did say he expects most workers to adopt a more hybrid work routine that has them working out of the office three days a week.
In addition to helping protect workers’ safety, the push for expanded hybrid working routines comes amid a greater desire from workers for increased flexibility, including the ability to live in places outside of expensive metropolitan areas and more freedom to adjust their schedules away from a traditional 9 to 5 schedule.
However, the big fear is that with rising covid rates due to the spread of the more contagious delta variant, Apple may simply be the first among a larger string of companies that will need to postpone their return to office plans.