Telecommuting: resign rather than return to work for some employees at Apple

Is the office work model outdated in a more than connected post-pandemic world? The question arises again on reading this letter sent to Apple management by a group of employees, signed on Sunday May 15 by some 3,184 former or current employees, in which the latter threaten to resign. The reason: the new internal rules which require all employees to go to the office at least three days a week. Ian Goodfellow, Apple’s director of machine learning, also announced his decision to leave the company due to the work-from-home policy.

“I believe that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team,” the IT specialist wrote in a note to staff, according to Verge reporter Zoë Schiffer. “With everyone working remotely, it was much easier,” add the authors of the letter. Apple employees began returning to the office on April 11, signaling the end of a two-year telecommuting agreement that applies to all company employees due to the health crisis, Fortune explains on May 10. Apple had originally planned to bring employees back to the office in December, but the Apple company ultimately failed to do so due to the Omicron wave.

“Stop treating us like school children to be told when to be where and what homework to do”

From now on, the new rules defined end at 100% telework apply. Employees had to start spending at least one day in the office a week from April 11, two days from May 2 and at least three days from May 23. At the end of May, all employees are expected to be in the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and most could work remotely on other days of the week.

Out of the question for the signatories of the letter, who do not want to “start commuting again”, or “sit more than eight hours a day”. Imposing a return to the office would have consequences for their safety, their health, and their mental well-being, they plead. “We are not asking that everyone be forced to work from home. We are asking to decide ourselves, with our teams and our direct manager, what type of arrangement is best for each of us, whether it is in an office, at home or a hybrid approach. Stop treating us like school children who have to be told when to be where and what homework to do,” they wrote.

An April survey of Apple employees shows 76% were unhappy with the return-to-work plan, and 56% were considering leaving the company over the news. rules, which are among the toughest enforced in Silicon Valley. The other tech giants have also imposed face-to-face days, but with much more flexible rules, Fortune points out. According to Raj Choudhury, a Harvard professor specializing in labor interviewed by Quartz, companies with too rigid rules could lose their “best employees” who “will go to competitors offering more flexible hybrid policies”.

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