Tim Cook is reportedly impressed by how well employees have managed to work remotely, and says that some of these new work habits will endure after COVID-19.
In an interview with the The Atlantic Festival on Monday, Apple’s CEO said he does not think the company will “return to the way we were because we’ve found that there are some things that actually work really well virtually.”
Tim Cook and working remotely
Cook’s comments put him somewhere in the middle of tech executives when it comes to the topic of home working. Some companies have embraced remote working as the future. Meanwhile, the likes of Netflix’s Reed Hastings recently referred to remote working as a “pure negative.”
At the same time, Cook commented that remote work is “not like being together physically.” One reason is that it doesn’t come with the kind of impromptu creativity that working in the same office may create.
This is a similar stance to Cook’s predecessor Steve Jobs. Jobs was talking about the power of remote working, aided by technology, as far back as 1990. However, he also enjoyed the serendipity that accompanied everyone working in the same location. Former Disney president and Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull has recalled how, “Steve was a big believer in the power of accidental mingling; he knew that creativity was not a solitary endeavor.”
In the Monday interview, Cook said that around 10 to 15 percent of Apple employees are back at the office right now. He hopes the majority will be able to return sometime in 2021.
How long will Cook stay as Apple CEO?
Cook was also asked about how long he plans to stay in the role of Apple CEO. He gave a typically vague answer, well known to anyone who’s ever heard Cook quizzed about Apple’s future plans during an earnings call. “We’ll see,” he said. “At some point, of course, we all do something different.”
Apple is reportedly currently working on plans for passing the torch to other executives when the current crop of C-suite execs are ready to throw in the towel.