Apple Summons Employees Back to Offices Three Days a Week

How do you like them Apples?

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Tech companies like Amazon, Meta and Yelp have initiated plans to jettison unused office space, but Apple’s Tim Cook has other ideas.

In an internal memo to employees obtained by The Guardian, Cook told Apple workers that they will soon be required to make an office appearance at least three days out of the week starting Sep. 5 in order to regain “in-person collaboration” within the company.

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“We are excited to move forward with the pilot and believe that this revised framework will enhance our ability to work flexibly, while preserving the in-person collaboration that is so essential to our culture,” Cook wrote in the memo.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment. 

Employees of the tech giant will be required to report to their desks on Tuesday and Thursdays, as well as one other day, depending on which team they belong to, according to The Guardian. When the firm first proposed a return to the office in June 2021, Cook required that employees make the schlep on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, with the change to one flexible day appearing to be a concession of sorts for Apple.

Apple’s back to office approach has already alienated some Apple employees, namely Ian Goodfellow, Apple’s director of machine learning, who returned to Google after only two years because of Apple’s stricter work-from-the-office stance, The Guardian also reported. But other companies aren’t taking the risk.

Workspace software provider Robin conducted a July survey of 250 U.S. companies and found that 46 percent plan to reduce their office footprint over the next 12 months. Firms may also turn to subletting office space as a cost-cutting measure as a recession looms rather than cut from their workforce, Commercial Observer previously reported.

Tech firms — which have been buoying office leasing in Manhattan since the pandemic — have led the charge on ditching office space or pulling back on new developments. Yelp announced in June it would eliminate mandatory in-person work and shutter offices in New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago; Salesforce put more than 412,000 square feet of its San Francisco headquarters on the sublease market while Twitter plans to close and downsize offices around the world, including seeking to offload a full floor of its New York City outpost.

Meta, parent company of Facebook, and Amazon followed suit, each announcing they would slow their expansion in New York City and reevaluate their workplace strategies.

Does the Apple fall far from the broader tech tree? Let’s see. 

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.