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Apple delays September office return because of delta COVID-19 variant

Many Apple employees don’t want to return to the office three days a week.

Allie Nawrat

Credit: AMY GARCIA via Twenty20.

They are threatening to quit over the lack of flexibility. Unleash Your People

Tech giant Apple has decided to push back its return to the office plans by at least a month because the new Delta variant is causing a surge in COVID-19 cases.

According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 18,421 cases on 1 July, but this had almost doubled to 34,830 cases on 19 July.  

Now Apple has said that employees will only be called back into the office at least three days a week – Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays – from 1 October.

But the tech giant has said that they might push it back further depending on the COVID-19 situation, according to the New York Times. Employees will be given a month’s notice of any other changes to return to the office plans.

In an email to employees seen by the New York Times, the company wrote: “As the situation continues to evolve, we’re committed to the same measured approach that we have taken all along.”

This decision by Apple also comes after more consternation from some employees about the return to the office.

When Apple first announced in early June that it would be calling its employees back in September, a group of employees kicked back.

Instead of being told what days to go to the office, the group wrote a letter to Apple management that called for more flexibility in their working location, as well as for the return to be decided on a team-by-team basis.

According to reporting by Apple Insider, Apple workers are now threatening to quit over the company’s return to office approach.

This is because their demands about flexible working were denied and many do not want to share all of their medical data with Apple in order to gain an exemption to work from home.

In a video to employees late last month, SVP of retail and people Deirdre O’Brien said: “We believe that in-person collaboration is essential to our culture and our future.

“If we take a moment to reflect on our unbelievable product launches this past year, the products and the launch execution were built upon the base of years of work that we did when we were all together in-person.”

UNLEASH has reached out to Apple for comment, but is yet to receive a response.

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