After multiple delays and false starts, Apple now has a solid start date for its hybrid work arrangement. According to Bloomberg and The Verge, the tech giant will start requiring employees who work in its Santa Clara Valley offices to report to office three times a week starting in the week of September 5th. They're expected to come in every Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the third day set by their individual teams. In a letter sent to staff members, Apple's SVP of software engineering Craig Federighi encouraged employees to share their input about that third team-specific day with their managers to help them decide.
Apple has been planning to enforce a hybrid arrangement wherein employees are required to work from its offices since June 2021. At the time, though, it wanted personnel to come in every Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The company, which puts great value in what Tim Cook calls the "irreplaceable benefits of in-person collaboration," has made several attempts to enforce a hybrid work week arrangement since then but has had to keep pushing its plans back due to rising COVID-19 cases and other factors.
Earlier this year, it again attempted to start enforcing its hybrid work policy in the week stating on May 23rd. However, employees had criticized the policy for being "driven by fear" — "[f]ear of the future of work, fear of worker autonomy, fear of losing control," they said in an open letter. Apple even reportedly lost Ian Goodfellow, its director of machine learning and most cited expert in the field, over the policy. In the end, the company backtracked and softened its stance, launching a pilot that required some employees to report to its offices two days a week instead.
Now, it looks like there's no stopping Apple from requiring employees to report to its offices. "September 5th marks the true start of our hybrid work pilot in the Santa Clary Valley," Federighi wrote in his memo. As he mentioned, though, it is still a pilot, and the company expects to learn from its implementation in the coming months as it prepares for employees' return to office in other locations.