What you need to know
- Apple CEO Tim Cook says that Apple's remote work policy is "the mother of all experiments".
- He told audience members at a TIME 100 event that Apple was committed to finding the best of both worlds when it comes to working in an office versus working remotely.
- Apple has lost employees and received pushback because of its desire to get workers back to its offices.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has admitted that the company is conducting "the mother of all experiments" with its hybrid remote working policy, and says the company may well shift its current model.
Speaking at a TIME 100 event, Cook responded to questions about changes in the workplace. On the topic of remote work, Cook said that Apple was "running the mother of all experiments" and that Apple would be the first to admit that "we don't know" what the hybrid working world could end up looking like. Cook said while Apple was "trying to find a place that makes the best of both of these worlds" he conceded that Apple might be the first to admit that the starting point of its hybrid working policy was wrong and could need tweaking.
Cook said that his own personal preference was for the "serendipity" of in-person meetings, but that virtual meetings on platforms like Zoom and WebEx were merely "different," rather than inferior. Cook also praised the resilience of Apple's employees at the onset of the pandemic, saying that they continued to execute and do brilliant work despite being displaced from their offices.
Apple has faced strong internal pushback over its policy of bringing staff back to its offices on a hybrid model, notably losing its director of Machine Learning to Google because he believed Apple's policy was too strict, stating "I believe strongly that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team." The employee in question, Ian Goodfellow, was understood to be Apple's "most cited ML expert."
Cook said that the key to success in hybrid working was to find a model that took advantage of the strengths of both in-person and virtual working, and stated that the final product could look quite different from what the company is doing now.
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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