They criticised the company’s duplicity in promoting its products as ideal for remote labour.
According to iMore, a number of Apple employees wrote an open letter to the company’s management team, complaining about the company’s new policy that only allows for two days of working from home. They claim that Apple’s justifications for the policy are weak, and that it is inefficient, rigid, and would result in a staff that is “younger, whiter, more male-dominated, more neuro-normative, more able-bodied.”
The letter reads, “You have described the decision for the Hybrid Working Pilot as combining the “desire to converse in-person” with the value of flexible work.” “However, it is only motivated by fear and does not recognize flexible employment. Fear of the future of work, worker autonomy, and the loss of control.”
Apple said in March that corporate staff would be required to return to the workplace two days each week by May 2nd. It will switch to a hybrid format on May 23rd, with mandated office days on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. In an email, the leadership team discussed the value of “the serendipity that occurs from stumbling into colleagues” during in-person work, which CEO Tim Cook described as “irreplaceable.”
However, the letter refutes those claims, claiming that in some circumstances, in-person participation isn’t even required on a monthly basis. It also contested the “serendipity” claim, claiming that Apple’s segregated office arrangement makes it impossible to run into coworkers, and that remote communication platforms such as Slack are better.
Furthermore, they claim that Apple’s open-plan offices impede concentration “necessary for innovation and… profound thought.”
A daily journey “is a major loss of time as well as both mental and physical resources,” according to the report. “In short, privileges will decide who may work for Apple, not who’d be the best fit,” it wrote.
Perhaps the most powerful argument was that Apple’s marketing of its own products was hypocritical. “How come we tell all of our clients how fantastic our products are for remote work, but we can’t utilize them ourselves?” the letter asks. “What makes us think our customers will take that seriously? How can we know what challenges in remote work need to be addressed in our products unless we live it?”
The letter is another indicator of mounting employee dissatisfaction at Apple, which advertises itself as progressive and inclusive. Employees have organized a drive for “serious change” at Apple, alleging “a pattern of isolation, degradation, and gas lighting,” and even formed the #AppleToo movement. In addition, the US National Labor Relations Board is investigating accusations about hostile working conditions at the corporation.