Apple asks retail employees to help with online customer support

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Like everyone else, Apple retail employees are being asked to work online.
Apple retail employees are being asked to become online employees to make using Apple.com better for customers.
Photo: Apple

Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s retail boss, sent a video to retail employees this weekend asking them to sign up to help customers remotely. She also said they should expect store closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to continue “for some period of time.”

Separately, Apple told employees that it doesn’t expect to have everyone back in its corporate headquarters before the end of 2020.

Apple wants retail employees to work online

Earlier this year, when it started closing retail locations to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus, Apple created a program to let retail employees assist customers online. “If your store is closed, please sign up for Retail at Home, please talk to your manager, because we really need to make sure that we shift our teams to greet our customers remotely in this time,” O’Brien told employees in a video, according to Bloomberg.

There are 271 Apple Stores in the United States. Over 90 of them have been temporarily shuttered because of COVID-19. That’s forced people to shop online, and Apple needs employees who can assist them. “We really want to make sure that we are moving to where our customers are, to help them during this very challenging time,” O’Brien told workers this weekend.

Apple Park won’t fully reopen in 2020

Some employees are already back in Apple headquarters in Cupertino, but it’s happening in phases. And the process won’t be over soon. “We currently do not anticipate a full return before the end of the year,” the company said in a June email to employees, according to Bloomberg. The same is true for all corporate offices in North and South America.