Apple employees protest after Tim Cook’s order to return to office

Employees call for a flexible approach where those who want to work remote can do so

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Apple employees have pushed back against CEO Tim Cook’s plans for a return to the office in September, according to a report. The staff is calling for a flexible approach where those who want to work remote can do so, according to an internal letter obtained by the technology website The Verge.

Cook sent out a note to employees saying they would need to return to the office three days a week – Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays – beginning in autumn.

But employees were not happy with the directive.

“Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our wellbeing, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple,” the letter said.


“Over the last year we often felt not just unheard, but at times actively ignored,” the letter said. “Messages like, ‘We know many of you are eager to reconnect in person with your colleagues back in the office,’ with no messaging acknowledging that there are directly contradictory feelings amongst us feels dismissive and invalidating… It feels like there is a disconnect between how the executive team thinks about remote / location-flexible work and the lived experiences of many of Apple’s employees,” it said.

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The employees also linked an embrace of flexible work with the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts. “For inclusion and diversity to work, we have to recognise how different we all are, and with those differences, come different needs and different ways to thrive,” they said.

Cook’s memo said that he missed “the hum of activity” of in-person working. The three-day per week requirement applies across the board, he said. Teams that need to work in-person would be required to be in office four, five days a week, the memo said.

Google has already asked staff to return to the office three days a week by September. But other tech giants have taken a more relaxed approach. Facebook has said it believes remote work is “the future” In May 2020, Twitter told certain staff that they can work from home forever.