As the new highly mutated B.1.1.529 lineage of the novel coronavirus Omicron grips several countries of the world, Apple once again ‘indefinitely’ postponed the deadline for the employees to officially return to work. A “date yet to be determined” for the return to the standard attendance at the offices, Apple reportedly informed the employees, as the tech giant delayed its corporate return-to-office deadline from February 1.
Apple has also reimbursed $1,000 for its corporate and retail employees to buy equipment and work from their so-called home offices, sources and Apple (AAPL) confirmed the development to CNN business. Apple employees were informed about the CEO Tim Cook’s decision via an email this week that elaborated on the Silicon Valley giant's move as driven by the pandemic circumstances and the new strain spread.
Earlier this week, Apple also reinstated mandatory masking at all of its US stores, while it also shuttered some businesses as Omicron cases surged across America. Trudging in the footsteps of Apple, other firms including Google (GOOGL), Lyft (LYFT), Uber (UBER), Amazon (AMZN) also pushed back on the office's return deadlines for employees, delaying the full attendance dates as uncertainty around the Omicron loomed.
Google and Facebook also offered their employees $1,000 bearing employees’ work-from-home expenses. At this time, there is no definite word on when exactly the employees can return to work as those who are able to are asked to continue to work from home.
Although, back in June, CEO Tim Cook had agreed that the employees may have to eventually return when it's safer at some point. "Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate," Cook had told a conference. Apple boss’ decision to reconsider the February 2022 deadline was made as the Apple employees wrote a letter demanding a more flexible approach at the workplace. Those who want to work remotely can do so owing to the health criteria, the letter mentioned.
“Apple’s remote/location-flexible work policy, and the communication around it, have already forced some of our colleagues to quit. Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple,” the letter obtained by multiple news sources read.
Apple had also earlier rolled out an option for employees willing to work from offices to do so on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, while they can work remotely twice a week. Meanwhile, Twitter and Facebook reportedly gave employees an option to work from home forever, even after the pandemic ends.