Apple top executives write management letters and resign over return to office

Zoom / Apple’s headquarters are in Cupertino, California.

Apple’s efforts to bring its employees back to the office are met with continued resistance from an organized group of employees, and there has been at least one notable quit over it.

Verge journalist Zoë Schiffer to babble On Saturday, Ian Goodfellow, Apple’s director of machine learning, will leave the company. He cited the return-to-office plan as his reason for leaving. “I strongly believe that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team,” he said in a note to colleagues, according to Schaeffer’s tweet.

Current policy sometimes varies by team and role, but in general Apple has already required employees to come into the office one or two days a week. On May 23, many Apple employees will be required to come into the office at least three days a week.

Some employees are unhappy with the gradual return to the office. They coordinated their efforts in a group dubbed “Apple Together”. group recently published an open letter addressed to the general management of the company.

Apple Together lists several reasons why they believe Apple’s return to the office doesn’t make sense for the company and its employees. The group tries to demystify the idea that being together in the office allows for serendipitous moments of collaboration and creativity. The group says the company is already isolated, so collaborating with colleagues is more manageable when working from home (when it’s sometimes easier to arrange video calls to offices or other departments) than in the office.

Apple Together notes the impact of traveling to crowded cities where Apple has offices — such as the Bay Area, Los Angeles or Austin, Texas — on employees’ personal lives, energy, and work availability. The group also notes that requiring employees to live in commuting limits the types of employees who join the company.

The letter concludes by naming what its authors consider to be “the most important reason” why Apple should allow more flexible working arrangements. She notes that Apple’s marketing messages position products like the iPhone, iPad and Mac as ideal tools for remote work, even when Apple tells the employees who design these products to return to the office.

The letter notes that Apple’s marketing is a hypocritical tactic and suggests that employees working to manufacture these products will better understand customer needs if they live the same professional lifestyle.

As Apple gradually brings employees back into the culture of the office, it uses remote collaboration tools so effectively that it has no other choice.

For example, a Wall Street Journal article on how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing Apple’s operations in China, it explains how Apple is using technologies such as live streaming, video calling, and augmented reality to enable engineers based in California to collaborate with colleagues in China. amid travel restrictions. Previously, many of these interactions required international travel to meet in person.

Meanwhile, many other tech companies have taken more permissive approaches to remote work. Microsoft always encourages some employees to come into the office, but this varies on a case-by-case basis. Others like Dropbox, Twitter and Lyft have announced that most employees could stay away completely indefinitely if they choose.

As it stands, Apple plans to move forward with its updated three-day-a-week policy on May 23.