Apple staff campaign against return to office

Employees at Apple have launched a campaign to contest CEO Tim Cook’s plans to have everyone return to the office at least three days a week.

According to The Verge, the company’s policy has already led some employees to quit and those who have stayed have demanded more flexibility.

In a letter to Cook, the employees said that without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of them feel they must choose between their families, wellbeing and being empowered to do their best work, or being a part of Apple.

"Over the last year we often felt not just unheard, but at times actively ignored," the letter said.

They also accused management of a disconnect with employees on the topic of remote or flexible working.

Kate Palmer, director of HR advice at Peninsula, told HR magazine more businesses will start to see a pushback if employees are not happy with the return to workplace polices.

She said: “As interest from workers on remote working full or part time post-pandemic has grown, it comes as no surprise that Apple is currently facing resistance from their workforce.

“Employers across the globe will likely be met, if it hasn’t happened already, with similar issues in the coming months.”

In such cases, Palmer said it is important to first determine why employees are reluctant to return.

“Once this has been established, the right kind of conversation can then be had with them, keeping their specific circumstances in mind, as well as government guidance and the needs of the business.

“Employers should be careful not to force staff to return to the workplace as this could lead to a decline in staff retention and/or morale or even cases of automatic unfair dismissal if health and safety issues are raised and found to be unlawfully practised in the workplace,” she explained.  

Instead, Palmer advised employers consult with employees to discuss any issues they may have about returning.

“It may also be helpful to prioritise bringing back the reluctant employees after they have had their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, if this is something they wish to take up.”

Jackie Hudson, director for Hampshire East at HR franchise, ourHRpeople said after more than 12 months working from home, employees now want flexibility indefinitely.

She told HR magazine: “Employees are now more than ever demanding the flexibility to choose how much time they want to spend in the office and how much time they want to work from home. 

“The recruitment market is becoming healthier, and employers will find that candidates have flexible working at the top of their agenda when it comes to choosing a new job.”

Hudson said companies who embrace true flexible working will find it easier to recruit the best staff.

She said: “Employers should listen to their staff, make use of tools such as staff surveys to ascertain the wishes of their people and then listen and act on the information they receive to remain attractive and competitive.

“If they don’t, the danger is that their best staff will vote with their feet."

How the UK workforce wants to work post-pandemic:

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