Apple workers tell CEO Tim Cook: ‘We demand location-flexible work’

Self-styled solidarity group AppleTogether launched a petition on Monday calling for a more flexible work policy in response to the company’s back-to-office order.

“We demand that Apple allow each of us to work directly with our immediate manager to figure out what kind of flexible work arrangements are best for each of us and for Apple,” the workers wrote. “These work arrangements should not require higher-level approvals, complex procedures or the provision of personal information.”

“Those calling for more flexible arrangements have many compelling reasons and circumstances: from disabilities (visible or not); family care; safety, health and environmental concerns; financial considerations; simply being happier and more productive,” said the petition, which had 150 signatures by mid-morning Monday.

Apple had asked workers to return to work on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, but last week reduced that to the Tuesday and Thursday after Labor Day, with a third day to be determined by teams, the Financial Times reported .

Remote work remains a priority for many workers. About 30% of employees at service-sector companies work remotely an average of 3.3 days a week — nearly three times the rate before the pandemic, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s August Survey of Business Leaders , which is sent to a group of 150 business executives.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays were most popular for personal work, according to the New York Fed survey.

However, there are signs that companies are expecting a return to normalcy. “The increase in telecommuting has not led to widespread reductions in the workspace used by businesses in the region,” authors Jaison R. Abel, Jason Bram and Richard Deitz wrote in the Fed report.

Read also: How to handle the dreaded “back to work” Zoom call with your boss

Apple AAPL,
-2.01%
did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Speaking at the TIME 100 symposium in New York in June, Apple CEO Tim Cook previously called the return to remote work “the mother of all experiments.” He said he preferred the “authenticity” of face-to-face meetings in the office.

Alphabet GOOGL,
-2.51%,
parent Facebook Meta META,
-2.89%
and Microsoft Corp. MSFT,
-2.77%
have asked workers to return to the office at least a few days a week. JPMorgan Chase JPM,
-1.86%
and Goldman Sachs GS,
-1.96%
are among the economic groups that have also asked workers to return. Twitter TWTR,
-1.88%
does not require a return to the office.

However, calling back to the office from remote work is a luxury issue. The Labor Department says just 7.1% of workers telecommuted in July because of the pandemic.

More than a third of “knowledge” workers — who deal with information — were back at the office five days a week, according to findings released in April by the Future Forum, a consortium started by Slack that aims to put digital first. workplace .

Learn how to shake up your financial routine at Best New Ideas in Money Festival on September 21 and September 22 in New York. Join Carrie Schwab, president of the Charles Schwab Foundation.

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