The people who work for the company that celebrates Think Different, finally joined the ranks of big businesses calling employees back from remote work… only to be told not so fast. AppleTogether, a group of Apple employees unhappy with the company’s new directive to return to work three days a week after Labor Day, started a petition for a change in direction.
In their petition, AppleTogether says employees thrived in the remote atmosphere and should be given the choice of whether to return to campus or not.
The petition opens with this statement:
“For the past 2+ years, Apple’s formerly office-based employees have performed exceptional work, flexibly, both outside and inside traditional office environments. However, Apple leadership recently announced they require a general return to office starting the week of Sept 5 (Labor Day). This uniform mandate from senior leadership does not consider the unique demands of each job role nor the diversity of individuals.”
The workers asking to continue flexible work say there are multiple reasons remote is better for some employees. Reasons for the flexible work option include “disabilities (visible or not); family care; safety, health, and environmental concerns; financial considerations; to just plain being happier and more productive.”
The petition demands that Apple allow employees to work with their direct manager to determine what flexible work arrangements work best for each person and that work arrangements should not require higher level approvals, complex procedures, or providing private information.
Originally with this call to return to work, Apple asked that employees return to work Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, but last week changed that to Tuesdays and Thursdays with the third day to be determined by teams.
According to the New York Federal Reserve’s August Business Leaders Survey, 30% of service-sector companies’ employees are working remotely for an average of 3.3 days per week.
When people have the chance to work flexibly, 87% of them take it according to the American Opportunity Survey.
About 85% of company leaders say they want employees to spend half or more of their work time in the office, according to a recent national real estate brokerage survey.
The tension between corporate leaders who want workers to return to the office and employees calling for flexible work isn’t going anywhere. Now that employees know they can successfully work from home, they believe they have a case to continue flexible work options.
The AppleTogether petition serves as a warning.
Apple has been working toward a return to offices since June 2021, when it first announced the three-day policy.
Apple has declined to comment on the petition. AppleTogether ends its petition with a call to action.
“We believe that Apple should encourage, not prohibit, flexible work to build a more diverse and successful company where we can feel comfortable to ‘think different’ together.”