A resurgent COVID pandemic is prompting Apple to delay its return deadline by at least a month, people familiar with the matter said.
The Cupertino iPhone giant was responding to the new coronavirus variants that have been causing the world to dramatically increase the rate of cases and hospitalizations, according to people, who asked not to be identified because they disagreed on the firm’s internal policy. were discussing.
Apple last month asked employees to return to the office at least three days a week in early September, prompting more than 1,700 employees to sign a letter asking company executives to work remotely. Tech website The Verge First calls for more flexibility for Reported. This month, Apple employees again wrote to their leaders, objecting to the lack of action on flexibility, According to Tech Site Recode.
Apple appears to be the first US tech giant to delay plans for a return to normalcy as COVID persists and cases linked to a highly permeable delta version surge. The people said Apple would give its employees at least a month’s warning before returning to offices.
Facebook, which kicked off a limited, voluntary reopening of Bay Area offices last month, and expects to fully reopen US offices in October, said Tuesday that it was not changing its plans, But was “monitoring the situation closely.” The Menlo Park social media firm noted that health experts believe vaccines are highly effective in preventing COVID, including the Delta version, and that data shows the majority of new cases are in unvaccinated people. .
“Data, not date, is what drives our office-to-off thinking,” Facebook spokeswoman Chloe Meyere said in a statement.
Business-software firm Salesforce, which began bringing employees vaccinated against COVID to its San Francisco headquarters on a voluntary basis in May, has said it is adopting a model that would allow about two-thirds of workers will see them on the “flex” schedule that brings them. Office one to three days a week.
A Salesforce spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday that the firm was not altering its plan in light of the rise in COVID rates, but that it would “adjust each location based on the guidance of local government and the advice of public health officials and medical professionals.” Will continue to watch exclusively. specialist. The spokesperson said Salesforce employees can work remotely until at least the end of the year.
When Apple CEO Tim Cook said employees should start coming back to offices in early September, he cited the availability of vaccinations and declining infection rates.
According to a Bloomberg review of mortality data, even after half of America has been vaccinated, COVID continues to kill people faster than guns, car accidents, and influenza. After 10 weeks of a global decline in coronavirus deaths, the delta version is gaining a new momentum, and in the US, health officials warn a similar reversal could occur: daily cases have doubled from the low point last month, And hospitalizations are on the rise again.
Google began bringing workers back to its Bay Area offices and campuses on a voluntary basis last week, ramping up a wider reopening in September when the company’s facilities no longer require daily workers. Will be put on a “hybrid” schedule that will see them in the office about three days a week, CEO Sundar Pichai said. Pichai said employees could apply to stay away altogether or move to other offices, but that could mean less compensation. The company said on Tuesday that the pandemic situation was changing, and said it would continue to track it.
Uber began reopening its San Francisco headquarters building on March 29 on a voluntary basis. The ride-hailing titan has given employees until the end of September to continue working remotely and spend three days in the office. Uber on Tuesday declined to say whether the increase in COVID rates would change its reopening plans.
Separately, Apple is said to be testing a hybrid in-store and work-from-home arrangement for retail employees, acknowledging that consumers may continue to prioritize online shopping even as the pandemic eases. Ho.
Apple shares rose 2.6% to $146.15 on Tuesday.
More stories like this. are available on bloomberg.com
©2011 Bloomberg LP