Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook shared new details on the company’s plan to return to the office during a virtual town hall meeting with employees on Thursday.
Cook said it “seems likely” that the majority of teams won’t be back before June 2021. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant has historically had an office-centric culture, but the CEO implied that the company’s success this year during the pandemic lockdown could enable more flexibility to work remotely in the future.
Still, Cook has been adamant publicly about his desire for staff to ultimately return to the office.
“There’s no replacement for face-to-face collaboration, but we have also learned a great deal about how we can get our work done outside of the office without sacrificing productivity or results,” he told staff, according to people familiar with the comments. “All of these learnings are important. When we’re on the other side of this pandemic, we will preserve everything that is great about Apple while incorporating the best of our transformations this year.”
Cook added that because of the challenges of recent months, Apple will be giving employees in many regions an additional paid holiday scheduled for January 4. Other companies, including Alphabet’s Google, have also given staff an extra paid day off recently.
Apple’s employee donation programme is having its strongest year ever, the CEO also noted. Since the initiative began, more than $591 million (roughly Rs. 4,300 crores) has been donated to charities and employees have volunteered more than 1.6 million hours. The company is making a $5 million (roughly Rs. 36 crores) donation to organisations helping those hurt by COVID-19, Cook said.
Several other Apple executives spoke during the town hall meeting, including the chiefs of retail, legal, environment, marketing, services, hardware engineering, software development, operations and machine learning.
Dan Riccio, senior vice president of hardware engineering, called remote work a “huge challenge” for device design that is usually done in lab settings. He said travel restrictions in March were particularly tough because that is when engineers typically travel to China to help kick off manufacturing of products launching in the fall.