Report: Apple 'behind the times' on hybrid working, will lose more employees

Apple Park photo of the side of the main building
Apple Park photo of the side of the main building (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple continues to take flack for its rigid hybrid work from home model.
  • Employees are unhappy over the policy that dictates they must go to the office at least three days a week.
  • A new report cites experts who say the company is behind the times and is going to lose more employees to its rivals.

As Apple employees protest its return to office policy and following the news of a high-profile departure over working from home, a new report cites experts who say the company is behind the times when it comes to hybrid working and is going to lose more employees to rivals and competitors with more favorable opportunities.

As reported by Quartz:

Researchers investigating the best practices for hybrid work policies tend to side with Apple employees on the matter."I would call this a rigid hybrid model," says Raj Choudhury, an associate professor at Harvard Business School who studies the future of work. He thinks that companies that attempt to impose strict schedules on workers will ultimately lose out, "because the best employees will leave for competitors offering more flexible hybrid policies."

Choudhury says Apple's policies don't factor in people's different priorities and commitments, like hobbies, appointments, childcare, and more, further noting that a strict office requirement severely limits where employees can live.

Stanford economics professor Nicholas Bloom told the outlet that Apple "has fallen behind the times," noting big shifts from companies like Airbnb and Quora who are moving to fully remote operations.

Another point of contention raised by employees is that Apple has designated which days employees can work remotely, Wednesday, and Friday, a seemingly arbitrary and awkward combo that doesn't let employees travel more at weekends:

In terms of productivity, there aren't particular days of the week that are inherently better or worse for in-office work. "The whole plan sounds ad-hoc—why not three other days?" says Choudhury.

The report says both "suspect that Apple and other similarly inflexible companies will see high levels of attrition if they don't adjust their policies." The comments come following a strong open letter from employees to CEO Tim Cook and Apple executives blasting the company's work from home policy. That letter noted another point of great irony, the fact that Apple advertises its own products as perfect companions for remote working and connectivity. The company even shared a video in March highlighting the plight of a team that escapes the clutches of their evil boss so that they don't have to work in the office anymore, seemingly without a hint of irony.

Earlier this week it emerged that Apple's head of machine learning has quit the company due to its work from home policy, reportedly telling employees "I believe strongly that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team."

You can read the full Quartz report here

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