Apple employees say it’s harder than ever to get telecommuting applications after a company introduced a new hybrid model it requires people to return to the office three days a week from early September. Some employees say they will stop if Apple does not change its position.
While Apple has historically prevented employees from working from home, there were one-time exceptions to the rule, and some teams were more lenient than others. Employees now say that even these exceptions are prohibited. On the company’s Slack channel, where employees advocate telecommuting, about 10 people said they were resigning because of hybrid labor policies or knew others who had been forced to quit. The Slack channel currently has over 6,000 members.
Inside something telework survey During the June conducted by employees, 36.7 percent of respondents said they were concerned that they would have to leave Apple due to a lack of flexibility (1,735 people answered the question).
The Back to Work plan has already been a flashpoint at Apple, where employees wrote a letter in June urging Apple CEO Tim Cook to re-evaluate the hybrid model. Deirdre O’Brien, Head of Retail and People, sent a video in response saying that personal cooperation was “necessary” and that pointing out the company does not deviate from its current approach.
While Apple business employees certainly have more flexibility than retail staff, some say it is inconsistent with other major technology companies in Silicon Valley. Twitter and Facebook have already announced a permanent work-from-home policy, and Apple employees say they have been flooded with recruitment messages from other technology organizations looking for an opportunity.
One employee said she was currently in accommodation for disabled Americans, which allowed them to work from home, but was told the accommodation would be denied when the company returned to the office. “I’m off work in September,” they wrote to Slack.
Apple typically gives employees 30 days to find a new job at the company if their current team prohibits medical accommodation. But one employee at Slack said there were no open remote stations.
Some workers say they were told that only people with documented illnesses are accepted for permanent telecommuting. But the form that Apple employees use to request accommodation asks them to publish their medical reports to the company, which made some people uncomfortable.
Now employees are discussing how to get Apple’s attention. Some suggested writing a second letter to reiterate their concerns, while others have discussed possible legal action with lawyers.
Apple declined to comment on this story.