Apple Inc. has once again delayed its return to in-person work, this time pushing back from a previous office-return date of Feb. 1 to “a date yet to be confirmed,” as attested to by an internal company memo from CEO Tim Cook.
This delay occurs just weeks after November’s announcement of the Feb. 1 date, which itself was one of numerous postponements. This date was one of a series of scrapped office-return dates, with previous plans to return to in-person work last June, September, October all having been abandoned, as well as one forsaken date in the upcoming January.
A spokesman for the company has since confirmed the decision to Bloomberg News.
The memo also specified that all employees, including retail employees, would receive a $1,000 bonus to cover work-from-home needs, claiming that this bonus was offered “in support of our commitment to a more flexible environment.”
One of the company’s greatest obstacles forestalling a return to the office has been pushback from its own employees. While the exact popularity of remote work among Apple employees is unknown, there has been significant employee resistance to previous motions to return to in-person work, with many employees reportedly organizing on Slack to lobby for remote work and creating petitions receiving thousands of signatures.
Ultimately, Apple aspires to implement a permanent hybrid work schedule, with many employees required to attend work in-person on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, while being able to work from home on Wednesdays and Fridays. While this constitutes a change from the pre-COVID-19 consensus among company leadership, which discouraged remote work altogether, it is still seen as conservative compared to other tech companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, who have embraced remote work with greater enthusiasm than Apple by allowing most employees the option to work from home on a permanent basis.
The announcement coincides with Apple re-imposing a mask mandate on all domestic Apple Store locations, as well as temporarily closing three Apple Store locations in response to virus outbreaks. Altogether, these developments paint a picture of a beleaguered tech giant, enthusiastic to see its employees gather in-person once again but hesitant to commit to a firm date after a string of postponements.