Apple employees rise up against return to office orders

Apple headquarters
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Breach Media)

A number of Apple employees have hit out at orders to return to the office after two years of remote working during the pandemic.

The group, which calls itself Apple Together, published an open letter expressing their distaste for the company's hybrid working plan, which will require staff to attend the office three days a week from May 23. 

The Apple Together group is said to consist of 250 employees (of circa 165,000 in total), with an additional few thousands taking part in an internal Slack channel dedicated to pushing for the right to work remotely.

Apple’s office work mandate

Although Apple has sought to bring employees back to the office since the pandemic began, the date had to be pushed back repeatedly due to Covid-related developments. The latest iteration of the plan was detailed by Tim Cook in March.

“For many of you, I know that returning to the office represents a long-awaited milestone and a positive sign that we can engage more fully with the colleagues who play such an important role in our lives. For others, it may also be an unsettling change,” said the Apple CEO at the time.

“In the coming weeks and months, we have an opportunity to combine the best of what we have learned about working remotely with the irreplaceable benefits of in-person collaboration. It is as important as ever that we support each other through this transition, through the challenges we face as a team and around the world.”

However, this argument was not well-received by the members of Apple Together, who say the move to bring employees back to the office is motivated by paranoia and a desire to exert control over the workforce.

“You have characterized the decision for the Hybrid Working Pilot as being about combining the ‘need to commune in-person’ and the value of flexible work. But in reality, it does not recognize flexible work and is only driven by fear. Fear of the future of work, fear of worker autonomy, fear of losing control,” wrote the group.

“Office-bound work is a technology from the last century, from the era before ubiquitous video call-capable internet and everyone being on the same internal chat application. But the future is about connecting when it makes sense, with people who have relevant input, no matter where they are based.”

The letter goes on to call for the Apple executive team to “get out of the way”, evoking a quote from Apple founder Steve Jobs, and leave employees to determine which style of working best suits them.

TechRadar Pro has asked Apple for a response to the letter published by the group of employees.

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.