Apple Employees Question New Two-day Work From Home Policy In Open Letter

A group of Apple Inc. (AAPL) employees have written an open letter to the iPhone maker’s executive team complaining about its new policy, which only allows two days of working from home. The employees said that the reasons given by the company for bringing into force the policy does not have enough weightage and the policy is wasteful, inflexible and will lead to a “younger, whiter, more male-dominated, more neuro-normative, more able-bodied” workforce.

The letter reads, “You have characterized the decision for the Hybrid Working Pilot as being about combining the need to commune in-person and the value of flexible work. But in reality, it does not recognize flexible work and is only driven by fear. Fear of the future of work, fear of worker autonomy, fear of losing control.”

It goes on to say, “We, tell all of our customers how great our products are for remote work, yet, we ourselves, cannot use them to work remotely? How can we expect our customers to take that seriously? How can we understand what problems of remote work need solving in our products if we don’t live it?

In March, the company had said that all corporate employees would return to the office, and need to work at least two days a week by May 2nd. Beginning May 23, the work model will shift to a hybrid model with mandatory office days on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Apple CEO Tim Cook called in-person collaboration benefits “irreplaceable” and in an email, the executive team talked about the importance of “the serendipity that comes from bumping into colleagues” during in-person work.

The letter sent by the employees’ punches holes into these arguments by stating that in-person collaboration is not even needed monthly in some cases. It also questioned the “serendipity” statement, saying that Apple’s siloed office structure makes it very difficult to meet up with colleagues and remote tools like Slack are better for collaboration. Also, Apple’s open-plan offices limit the concentration “required for creativity and deep thought,” the employees added.

The letter is another sign of growing employee unhappiness at Apple, which often presents itself as progressive and inclusive in its ads. Employees recently organized a push for real change in the company claiming “a pattern of isolation, degradation and gaslighting,” and even created an #AppleToo movement.

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