Apple to test hybrid working from home for retail employees, says Bloomberg

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What you need to know

  • A new report says Apple is planning to test a retail flex policy that will let Apple store employees work from home.
  • Staff would spend periods at home handling online sales, customer service, and tech support.
  • The report says Apple is anticipating a shift towards more online shopping.

A new Bloomberg report claims Apple is testing a 'Retail Flex' policy that would let Apple store staff work from home for weeks at a time, providing online sales support, customer service, and technical help to customers.

From Mark Gurman:

Apple Inc. plans to test a hybrid in-store and work-from-home arrangement for retail employees, acknowledging that consumers may continue to prefer online shopping even as the pandemic eases, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant will begin a pilot program later this year dubbed "Retail Flex" with a small number of store employees. The arrangement will allow employees to work some weeks at their retail store location and other weeks remotely. From home, workers will handle online sales, customer service and technical support, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing company policies.

The report says the move is an "acknowledgment that the trend of greater online shopping accelerated by Covid-19 may continue despite economic re-openings and vaccine availability in many parts of the world." Whether employees are based at home or in-store would reportedly depend on demand.

A pilot of the scheme will reportedly last for six months, with Apple reimbursing employees for internet expenses, and providing $100 towards office equipment. The plans would also not impact the salary of Apple Store retail employees.

Apple has reportedly stood resolute in the face of some corporate opposition to its planned hybrid work model for Apple Park and beyond, where staff are being asked to work in the office for three days a week, whilst working from home for the other two.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9