Apple delays return to corporate offices indefinitely
Apple told corporate staff this week that it is delaying a planned return to U.S. offices until an undetermined date, according to reports from Bloomberg News and NBC News reporter Zoe Schiffer.
A memo from Apple CEO Tim Cook said workers would get advance notes a month before a new return date is set, and that each employee would receive $1,000 in order to outfit their home for remote work.
Apple previously planned for most employees to return to offices on Feb. 1.
An Apple spokesman confirmed that a new return-to-office date hasn’t been set.
Silicon Valley neighbor Google told its employees earlier this month that they would not be required to come back into the office on Jan. 10, as planned. Other tech companies including Lyft, Uber, and Amazon have also pushed back their dates.
The delay comes amid concerns about rising Covid cases and the public health impact of the heavily mutated omicron variant.
Apple first sent corporate employees to work from home in March 2020 at the outset of the pandemic in the U.S., although some office workers have returned and most stores are open for business.
Nevertheless, the company has continued to introduce new products and boost sales in the pandemic era, although the company’s culture historically emphasizes in-person collaboration, symbolized by its circular headquarters, Apple Park, in Cupertino, Calif.
Earlier this week, Apple closed three stores in response to rising Covid cases and required customers shopping in any Apple store in the U.S. to wear masks regardless of local requirements. Retail employees have had access to weekly at-home tests.