Apple to bring essential staff back to offices in phased return

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Apple leases new offices near to Apple Park
Apple employees will return to work in a phased approach.
Photo: Duncan Sinfield

Apple reportedly plans to gradually return its corporate employees to work over the next few months, likely starting with those focused on major hardware projects.

The phased plan will return thousands of Apple workers to locations around the world, including the company’s main campus in Silicon Valley, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

According to Bloomberg:

The first phase, which includes staff members who can’t work remotely or are facing challenges working from home, has already begun in some regions globally. It will expand to major offices across late May and early June, Apple has told staff.

A second phase is scheduled to begin in July. The return-to-work timelines are reportedly fluid, and may change, given local and state stay-at-home orders.

A phased approach

Senior Apple managers already started informing employees about which phase they will be part of. Some in phase one reportedly will work in their offices regularly, while others will work in certain time periods, depending on their roles.

Quoting again from the Bloomberg story:

The first swath of employees returning to offices will likely focus on hardware development. Apple’s labs for future major hardware initiatives, such as planned virtual-reality and augmented-reality headsets, have been dialed back during the work from home period, one of the people said.

An Apple spokesperson declined to comment.

Apple told employees to start working from home in mid-March after conditions worsened around the United States and the world due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook told employees in April that the company’s return to work would be staggered. “We don’t envision, at least today, everyone going back at the same time,” Cook told employees in a virtual town hall meeting. “It may be different teams go back at a different time, it may be people within a team go back at different times.”

Apple’s decision to return workers to their offices sounds like a faster approach than that planned by many of its rivals in Silicon Valley including Google, Amazon and Facebook. None of those companies have begun the return of employees en masse.