Beginning in early September, Apple employees will be required to return to the office three days per week. Tim Cook informed employees of the change in an email on Wednesday.
“For all that we’ve accomplished while many of us have been separated, the truth is that something essential has been missing from this past year: each other,” he said. “To be sure, video conference calling has reduced the distance between us, but there are some things it simply cannot replicate.”
Cook stated that the majority of employees will be required to come into the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, with the option of working remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays. Teams that require in-person collaboration will return four to five days per week.
Employees can also work remotely for up to two weeks per year, “to be closer to family and loved ones, find a change of scenery, manage unexpected travel, or for any other reason,” according to the letter. Managers must approve requests for remote work.
For Apple employees, the change is not entirely unexpected. While employees worked from home during the coronavirus pandemic, the company famously discouraged it prior to 2020. According to Bloomberg, Tim Cook told employees in December that they could be asked to return to the office as early as June.
While Apple’s stance on remote work is becoming more relaxed, it remains conservative in comparison to the other tech behemoths. Google announced in May that 20% of its employees would be able to work from home on a permanent basis. Mark Zuckerberg has stated that remote work is the “future,” and has told Facebook employees that they can all work from home indefinitely as long as their manager approves.
Cook also encouraged all employees to get vaccinated in his letter on Wednesday.
“For the time being, let me simply say that I am looking forward to seeing your faces,” he concluded. “I know I’m not the only one who misses the hum of activity, the energy, creativity, and collaboration of our in-person meetings, and the sense of community we’ve all created.”