According to a message issued to staff on Thursday, Apple is delaying its return to corporate offices until at least January due to an increase in COVID-19 instances and new variations.
The corporation informed employees that it would confirm the re-opening date one month before they were needed to return to work. Apple had planned to force all employees to return to corporate headquarters by early September, but this was postponed until October. When workers are obliged to return, they will be expected to work at least three days per week in the office – Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays — with remote work possible on Wednesday and Friday.
Human resources and retail director Deirdre O’Brien said in a message to employees that the firm does not plan to close its headquarters or retail locations at this time. She did, however, aggressively push employees to get vaccinated. Although the firm has not yet required immunizations or testing, it is expanding its testing programme to include up to three at-home coronavirus tests each week. A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment on the memo.
As COVID-19 and highly transmissible variations began to spread throughout the summer, Apple became one of the first US tech firms to postpone plans for a return to normalcy.
Even while infection rates are still roughly a fourth of what they were at their height, the spread of the Delta variety throughout the world is forcing a reconsideration among America’s top businesses.
Apple restored the mask requirement last month after removing it in June. A proposal to restart in-store classes after less than a day was also scrapped.
Apple closed a retail location in South Carolina earlier on Thursday after more than 20 employees tested positive for COVID-19 or were exposed to it. Owing to employee absences due to the virus, the firm has also shortened working hours at several retail outlets.
Apple is the latest company to postpone its return to the office until 2022, following in the footsteps of Lyft, Amazon, and Facebook, among others. Since the beginning of the viral outbreak in the United States in March 2020, Apple staff have gone nearly two years without being needed to access corporate premises.
Apple has announced a scheme that would allow certain retail employees to work from home by serving customers online. As the firm introduces new iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, AirPods, and Mac models in the coming months, its physical shops will be essential.