The boss has spoken (again): Apple employees will return to the office on Feb. 1, 2022.
In an internal memo emailed to employees on Thursday, CEO Tim Cook said the company would begin its “hybrid work pilot” on that date. Under the hybrid work pilot, workers would gradually return to the office over one month, starting with one or two days per week. In March, this schedule would increase to in-person work three days per week—specifically Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays—and remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Cook’s memo was first reported by the Information.
However, this policy will not apply to all employees, only “eligible teams,” according to Bloomberg. Some teams will be required to go into the office four or five days a week.
“A number of teams have a greater need to work in person,” Cook said in the memo.
The CEO stated that many of Apple’s international offices have already returned to the office and that half of its employees in Silicon Valley are coming in weekly on certain days.
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Notably, Cook announced that employees would be allowed to work remotely for four weeks a year, an increase from the two weeks he originally started off with back in June, on top of the two days per week. At that time, a group of employees wrote an internal letter to Cook and executive leadership asking them to support employees who wanted to continue working remotely. Apple essentially denied that request, the Verge reported, and said that remote work decisions would be made on a “case-by-case basis.”
Apple and Cook have long stressed the importance of working in-person. In fact, company leadership has pointed out that the products and services developed by Apple have been the result of in-person collaboration.
“For all that we’ve been able to achieve while many of us have been separated, the truth is that there has been something essential missing from this past year: each other,” Cook said in June. “Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate.”
Nonetheless, since we’re still living in a pandemic, Apple’s plans are not set in stone. In this memo, Cook affirmed that employee health was the company’s top priority, and that Apple could delay its return to the office or make other changes around masks and social distancing requirements. Apple has already changed its return to the office date several times in recent months.
Although Cook encouraged employees to get vaccinated, he did not require them to do so, Bloomberg noted.
Gizmodo reached out to Apple on Thursday for comment and additional details about its new back to the office plans but did not receive a response by the time of publication. We’ll make sure to update this blog if we hear back.