Apple delays office return plans for employees indefinitely over Omicron surge

Employees will reportedly also be getting $1,000 to spend on home office equipment

Vishwam Sankaran
Thursday 16 December 2021 13:34
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<p>File: Apple CEO Tim Cook attends the grand opening of the new Apple store at The Grove on 19 November 2021 in Los Angeles, California</p>

File: Apple CEO Tim Cook attends the grand opening of the new Apple store at The Grove on 19 November 2021 in Los Angeles, California

Apple has reportedly delayed calling its employees to office to a date “yet to be determined” from the earlier deadline of 1 February, after a surge in Covid-19 cases in the US and Canada.

Employees were informed of the move via a memo sent by the company’s chief executive Tim Cook on Wednesday, according to several media reports.

The memo also noted that every corporate employee, including retail workers, would be getting $1,000 (£755) to spend on home office equipment, according to NBC News journalist Zoe Schiffer.

“We are delaying the start of our hybrid work pilot to a date yet to be determined,” the memo reportedly said.

Employees were also urged to get vaccinated and take booster shots, with Covid-19 cases surging and the new Omicron variant of the virus spreading in many parts of the world.

Apple staff will reportedly get at least four weeks notice before a new return-to-office deadline takes effect.

In the new hybrid work policy, they would be expected to work in-person on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and be allowed to work from home on Wednesdays and Fridays, depending on the team.

The new move to postpone the office-return deadline comes just weeks after the tech giant had decided on a 1 February date for the start of its hybrid work pilot, after previously delaying such plans from June, September, October and January.

This decision also comes the same week Apple restored its policy requiring all its retail store customers in the US to wear masks and after the company temporarily shut three outlets due to rising Covid-19 cases among employees.

Through the course of the pandemic, and especially with the rise of the more-infectious variant of the novel coronavirus, several major tech companies have had to grapple with new policy changes.

Google has noted that its employees who do not comply with its vaccination rules would be placed on “paid administrative leave” and eventually terminated, while Microsoft also scrapped its return-to-office date in September.

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