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Apple Revises Return-To-Office Plan As COVID-19 Surges: Report

The Cupertino, Calif. tech giant will require masks in common areas and only require office presence two days a week, instead of the planned three days.

Apple is paring down its plan to have employees return to corporate offices from three days a week starting May 23 because of rising COVID-19 cases across the country – instead opting for a two-day plan with some mask requirements, according to Bloomberg.

Corporate employees began returning to in-person work on Monday, April 11 after two years of remote working. The company started with one-day-a-week required and moved to two days a week on May 2. The plan was to shift to three days a week in the office on May 23. The original plan called for employees to return on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The company is delaying the three-day requirement indefinitely, according to Bloomberg.

Employees coming into the office now will be required to wear masks in common areas to limit spread of the virus. According to The New York Times, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have started creeping back upward (with hospitalizations lagging at a slower pace than previous virus surges).

Apple did not return messages seeking comment.

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Other big tech firms are allowing permanent remote work or a more relaxed hybrid schedule. Apple prides itself on in-person collaboration. It had delayed a back-to-office order several times over the last year because of COVID-19 surges.

The company employs more than 80,000 people in the U.S. In March, the company announced it would begin return-to-office plans. At the time, CEO Tim Cook wrote in a memo to employees, “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.”

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