Apple sets Sept 5 return-to-office deadline after Covid-19 delay

The new policy will first take effect in Silicon Valley and then spread to other offices. PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN JOSE (BLOOMBERG) - Apple has set a Sept 5 deadline for corporate employees to be in the office at least three days a week, marking its latest return attempt after Covid-19 spikes delayed its plans several times.

The company will require employees to work from the office on Tuesdays, Thursdays and a regular third day that will be determined by individual teams.

This is a shift from Apple's original plan, which called for in-person work on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The company notified employees of the new approach on Monday (Aug 15).

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant has been working towards getting its employees back in the office since at least June 2021, when it first announced the three-day policy.

But virus flare-ups forced the company to push back deadlines, leaving workers on a two-day-a-week schedule.

The new policy will first take effect in Silicon Valley and then spread to other offices.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the updated deadline.

Apple has been making other Covid-19 adjustments. The new policy comes weeks after the company dropped its mask mandate in the common areas of its offices.

Apple had removed such a requirement at individual desks several months ago.

The company also held an in-person gathering on its campus in June for a developers conference presentation.

That was a first since 2019 and signalled that Apple was inching closer to normal operations.

In Santa Clara County, where many of Apple's main offices are housed, seven-day case averages and daily new Covid-19 case counts have declined from July, but are still much higher than before the Omicron spikes earlier in 2022.

Still, the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its Covid-19 recommendations last week.

The iPhone maker has been one of the most stringent tech companies when it comes to pushing employees back into the office, irking some employees, Bloomberg News has reported.

Microsoft, Amazon.com, Alphabet's Google and others have been more open to remote work in recent months.

It is a busy time for Apple. The company is gearing up for an event in September to announce the iPhone 14 and new watches. It is also preparing updated Macs and iPads for launch later this year.

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