Apple employees send another letter to Tim Cook urging WFH allowances

Tim Cook
Tim Cook (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple employees have again written to CEO Tim Cook and head of people Deirdre O'Brien.
  • Employees want Apple to reconsider its hybrid work policy.

The growing unrest between Apple's executive team and the rank and file continues to grab headlines and employees have written a second letter to CEO Tim Cook and VP of people, Deirdre O'Brien asking for more flexibility in terms of working from home.

Apple's current stance is that its new hybrid work model is the one that will stay, with office workers able to work from home two days per week. But employees want more flexibility after working from home for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apple has historically said — and continues to say — that in-person collaboration is vital to the way it works. Employees will no doubt point to the multiple products that have launched while they have been working from home — and they want that to continue.

According to a new Recode report, employees have now sent a second letter to the executive team, urging a rethink of the current hybrid work model. The gist of the second letter is that employees want the option to work from home for another year — many believing that Apple is forcing people to return to offices too soon.

With COVID-19 numbers rising again around the world, vaccines proving less effective against the Delta variant, and the long-term effects of infection not well understood, it is too early to force those with concerns to come back to the office. Furthermore, allowing some greater flexibility than the current 3/2 schedule would enable us to truly validate whether some people working remotely, not just everyone occasionally working from home, is compatible with Apple's culture of collaboration.

Employees are also concerned that the cost of living in and around Cupertino is problematic, something I've written about previously.

You can read the full Recode , including the full letter sent to Cook and the rest of the executive team, to get a feel for what the Apple folk are asking for.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • I'm not sure I understand this. The employees were allowed to work from home due to the pandemic. Now that the pandemic restrictions are gone and everywhere has opened back up the people don't want to go back to work because they like working from home? Sorry, that's not the way it works. Go back to work or go find a work from home job. I'd hold strong on this if I was Apple. The entitlement here is ridiculous. "We want to work from home because it saves us money and we don't like commuting to work." They go work somewhere else. Figures that a blog writer working from home would defend this (Oliver).
  • What's not to understand. Working from home over the past 12-16 months has proven that many employees do not need to be in the office 5 days a week. In my company, we have started hiring employees from across the country which has vastly expanded the hiring pool and led to increased competition during the hiring process. We have actually found talent within my organization that we wouldn't have found previously when only those applied if they lived within a "drivable" range of our office. This has nothing to do with entitlement, and I suggest that you expand your understanding before posting ridiculous comments like this. The world is changing, and perhaps you need to find a way to adapt instead of these employees? Just a thought.
  • "Employees are also concerned that the cost of living in and around Cupertino is problematic" - Are they expecting Silicon Valley wages but wanting 100% remote working so they can ****** off to Bali or somewhere else with a lower cost of living? If the job was remote working from Day 1, fine. But we've all clearly had to work from home due to exceptional circumstances, and one would expect to return to office as per the original job arrangement now that things have settled down. The hybrid model is already above and beyond and a show of good faith, but clearly not appreciated.
  • What does it matter where they live? Would you be ok earning less because of where you lived even though you did the exact same job? Perhaps an innovative company would have realized years ago that they don't need to have their employees around 5 days a week to be successful and that all they needed to do was trust their employees to do their jobs regardless of where they were working. If they expanded their hiring pool, maybe they would find even better talent? Doesn't appear they have been suffering due to work from home over the last year. "But we've all clearly had to work from home due to exceptional circumstances, and one would expect to return to office as per the original job arrangement now that things have settled down". Now that things have settled down? I'm pretty sure this is the last thing that is happening around the country right now. These employees have every right to request to work from home until they feel safe to return or if performance is decreasing.