Apple has had to delay its plans to bring employees back to its main offices following the COVID-19 lockdowns of March 2020 time and time again, and it doesn’t look like the company is getting any closer to a solid date. CEO Tim Cook has admitted in a letter sent to employees that the date itself remains unknown, but the company is willing to help employees in the meantime as they continue to work from home.
According to the letter, which was obtained by multiple outlets including Bloomberg and The Verge, Cook acknowledges that while others within the company have begun returning to their desks, its delaying the beginning of its experimental hybrid work environment until further notice.
“We are delaying the start of our hybrid work pilot to a date yet to be determined,” Cook said in the letter. “Our offices remain open and many of our colleagues are coming in regularly, including our teams in Greater China and elsewhere.”
Cook goes on to mention the surge of the Omicron variant and rising case numbers being the reason behind the delay and says how preventing everyone from returning in a partial in-person capacity is “by far the best way to keep you and your community safe.”
To help employees still working from home and further communicate its commitment to adopting a more flexible work environment, Cook has announced that Apple will give every single employee (down to retail workers) a $1,000 bonus in their next paycheck. The bonus will be subject to tax and withholding, and Cook mentions how the funds are “intended to help [them] with [their] home workspace and can be used as [they] see fit.”
Apple’s hybrid work plan involves asking employees to return to the company’s offices on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, On Wednesday and Friday, they’ll be allowed to work from home, with an additional full month of working from home offered before it goes in effect. This plan has caused quite a stir within Apple as many employees have expressed their displeasure on social media, with some bashing the company for putting its employees at risk. Others seem to be trying to convince the company that permanent work-from-home positions may be necessary moving forward.
Cook notes that as conditions continue to evolve and local guidelines adapt, Apple will have more to say on the matter. In the mean time, if you work at Apple and have an office there, get comfy – it could be a while before you have to go back.