Key Takeaway Points
Apple adopted the hybrid workplace model.
Apple employees created petitions to work from home permanently.
Apple is keen on keeping its hybrid model.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Apple was among the first businesses to instruct its employees to work from home. Even though the company prioritizes in-person cooperation and creating new hardware items is best handled by on-site staff, work from home for Apple has become an integral part of the company's operations post-coronavirus pandemic. When I look at Apple's iconic $5 billion, 175-acre campus in Cupertino, California, and several dozen more locations worldwide, I find that work-from-home for Apple was not the intended design.
What is work from home?
Employees who work from home (WFH) do not commute to a central office; they work remotely from their residences. With the COVID-19 epidemic advancing the trend, working from home has gained popularity in recent years [Read more]. The Employers' Federation of India defined work from home as an alternate way of organizing tasks that may be defined as the work which can be performed from home (away from the traditional workplace such as factories or offices) and enables employees to access their work activities through the use of information technology.
According to a FlexJobs study, 77% of remote workers are more productive than those who work in an office. This has prompted several organizations to adopt the work-from-home policy.
A study by the University of Warwick found that employees who work from home are less likely to experience stress and have greater job satisfaction than those who work in offices. Working from home is believed to give employees more freedom. They enjoy greater flexibility and independence. Employees' personal lives are accommodated when work can be completed at their convenience.
How does work from home work at Apple?
Following the declaration by the World Health Organisation that the Covid-19 pandemic is officially over, there has been great traction towards going back to the office. The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, said that "many businesses appear to be going into a hybrid way of operation. It appears that productivity when working from home will continue to be a top priority." This reflects that working from home for Apple is a topical issue that aims to be integrated with the company's operations.
It is important to note that working from home for Apple is adopted in a hybrid model. This hybrid model allows Apple employees to work from the office three days a week. To reinforce work from home for Apple, Tim Cook announced that most employees will be expected to report to work on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, with the option of working from home on Wednesdays and Fridays. Teams will return four to five days a week if they need to work in person.
Managers oversee work from home for Apple. They do this by approving work-from-home requests. Employees can work remotely for up to two weeks a year "to be closer to family and loved ones, find a change of scenery, manage unexpected travel, or for a different reason all your own," according to the letter issued by CEO Cook.
While becoming more accommodating, Apple's remote work policy is still conservative compared to the other tech giants. Google stated in May that 20% of its employees would have the option to work remotely on a full-time. The Insider published that Mark Zuckerberg informed Facebook staff they could all work from home indefinitely as long as their manager approved, calling remote work "the future."
What remains common between the tech giants' policy and work-from-home for Apple is the managers' oversight of the work-from-home policy approvals and implementation.
Interestingly, the shift from office culture to work from home for Apple has been challenging. This is primarily due to Apple's hardware focus and obsession with secrecy. Apple has previously made considerable efforts to block the public from seeing its new products before the corporation is prepared to reveal them. Now, accomplishing this while working from home for Apple can be challenging. Employees may find it hard to adjust, and there have been rumours of minor development setbacks because of work from home for Apple.
Related: Work from home easy jobs
Insights into Work from Home for Apple from the Employee Perspective
The employees have not welcomed Apple's hybrid model. The employees have often challenged the need for in-person collaboration. Despite the announcement by Tim Cook to assume a hybrid model that only demands employees to commute to the office three days a week, some employees have advocated for a whole work-from-home approach.
Employees at Apple created two petitions demanding the opportunity to work remotely full-time. These have amassed more than 1,000 signatures combined. A few employees have resigned over the issue, whilst several have started speaking out publicly to oppose management's stance on the work from home for Apple.
Apple employees who do not want to return to work have contradicted the widely held management tenet that serendipitous, in-person cooperation is required to foster creativity. It has been projected that some of Apple's employees will probably leave the company if it does not change its work-from-home policy. The company, however, seems keen on keeping its hybrid model. But due to its immense influence, Apple can afford to draw a firm line in this situation. Despite its stance on flexible work, the company can retain most of its personnel and attract top talent because it provides workers with unrivalled salaries, benefits, and prestige.
Working from home for Apple is feared to disrupt the business world. This follows the assumption that other businesses will mimic Apple's remote work practices[Read More].
In 2021, Around 2,800 workers wrote a lengthy letter expressing their "growing concern" about the proposed hybrid work schedule. The group issued a series of formal requests advocating for full-time remote work over in-person attendance, alleging that an undisclosed number of staff employees were forced to leave the organization due to Apple's new work policy.
In the letter, Apple employees said working from home delivers five key benefits: 'diversity and inclusion in retention and hiring; tearing down previously existing communication barriers; better work-life balance; better integration of existing remote / location-flexible workers; and reduced spread of pathogens.' Below is a breakdown of some of these benefits of working from home for Apple as perceived by the employees.
Diversity and inclusion: According to Chase Harrington, working from home opens the opportunity to find more diverse candidates.
Research has shown that diverse management increases revenue by 19%. Also, in organizations with diversity and inclusion, there is a reported 2.5 times higher cash flow per employee. [Read More]
Communication Barriers: Employees who work from home are geographically separated from their co-workers. Employees are less likely to feel frightened or reluctant to communicate with someone they don't see frequently, which can help lower communication barriers. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, communication barriers will cost U.S. corporations $62.4 billion yearly. The study also discovered that poor communication significantly contributes to employee turnover, with 70% of workers indicating that they have left a job due to poor communication.
Better work-life Balance: Greater flexibility is one of the main advantages of working from home for Apple. Employees who have the option to work remotely can benefit from this by doing so from home and setting up a flexible schedule to handle both business and personal obligations.
A better work-life balance increases an employee's likelihood of engagement and productivity. According to research by the Society for Human Resource Management, employees with a healthy work-life balance are 13% more likely to be productive and 21% more likely to be engaged in their jobs.
In conclusion, work from home for Apple is a topical issue in the tech industry. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, Apple adopted the work-from-home policy. However, post-pandemic, the company has integrated work from home with physical working – hybrid working/model. Management has implemented this model with Tim Cook spearheading some of the major correspondence calling employees back to the office. The move has been received negatively by employees who feel they need a more flexible working arrangement and a possible permanent working from home for Apple policy.
Brandon Murambinda is an Organisational Design and Development Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm.