The ability to work remotely was a great advantage for many when looking for a job. In recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has further affected the state of mind of employees of technology companies in this regard. And those times have shown that business can continue to operate without offices. For example, Airbnb has refused from the office for all its employees. But not all companies can and want to. Apple is among them. Recent conflicts between management and employees are gaining momentum.
The Cupertino initiative group called itself Apple Together and has already approached the company’s management with an open letter stating that coming to the office in the age of high-speed Internet and video chats is too outdated a format for organizing workflows.
“Office-bound work is a technology from the last century, from the era before ubiquitous video-call-capable internet and everyone being on the same internal chat application,” the letter reads. “But the future is about connecting when it makes sense, with people who have relevant input, no matter where they are based.”
It is further emphasized that employees should not be strictly controlled and can decide for themselves how to work.
“Now we ask you, the executive team, to show some flexibility as well and let go of the rigid policies of the Hybrid Working Pilot. Stop trying to control how often you can see us in the office. Trust us, we know how each of our small contributions helps Apple succeed and what’s required to do so.”
But they also do not refuse working meetings and teamwork, they just do not need it so often.
“We definitely see the benefits of in-person collaboration; the kind of creative process that high bandwidth communication of being in the same room, not limited by technology, enables. But for many of us, this is not something we need every week, often not even every month, definitely not every day. The Hybrid Working Pilot is one of the most inefficient ways to enable everyone to be in one room, should the need arise every now and then.”
The aforementioned Hybrid Working Pilot involves a gradual return to the office. At first, it was one mandatory day of the week in the office. But gradually the number of days when you need to come to work is increasing. Such a plan could be adjusted depending on the distribution of COVID-19. Currently, Apple employees are required to visit the office twice a week, and starting May 23 – three times (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday). Of course, after more freedom regarding the location and organization of family life, etc., now many employees are not satisfied with such rules.
Moreover, the head of the machine learning department, Ian Goodfellow, resigned . In his letter to colleagues, he noted that he made the following decision in part because of the need to return to the office:
“I firmly believe that more flexibility would be the best policy for my team.”
Of course, it’s not just Apple that requires employees to return to offices. Many companies are planning to lift their colleagues off the couch in the near future and remind them to go to work. According to a Gartner survey of 300 companies, 18% of them do not offer “flexibility” options. Three out of five require working in the office at least three times a week, although this creates problems when looking for new employees.
And this is also confirmed by polls from HRMorning , where 40% of respondents said they were ready to leave work if the company did not provide the opportunity to work remotely. Of course, there is still a large percentage of people waiting to return to office work, as was the case in the “evidence” times.