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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Apple delays return to office by at least a month as Covid spikes

by Mark Gurman | bloomberg

Apple Inc., responding to the resurgence of Covid variants in several countries, is rolling back the office deadline of at least a month to October, people familiar with the matter said.

The iPhone maker becomes one of the first US tech giants to delay plans to return to normalcy as Covid-19 persists around the world and cases linked to the highly permeable version rise. Apple will give its employees at least a month’s warning before mandating a return to offices, the people said, discussing an internal policy that asked not to be identified.

Chief executive Tim Cook said in June that employees should start returning to offices at least three days a week in early September. In an internal memo, Cook cited the availability of vaccinations and declining infection rates. Some employees of the Cupertino, California-based technology giant have worked from Apple offices on certain days during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite half the US being vaccinated, Covid-19 continues to kill people faster than guns, car accidents and influenza, according to a Bloomberg review of mortality data. After a 10-week global decline in COVID deaths, the highly permeable delta variant is gaining a new momentum. In the US, health officials have warned that a similar reversal could occur: Daily cases have doubled from the low point last month, and hospitalizations are rising again.

Read more: Apple Decentralizes From Silicon Valley, Retains Top Talent

Corporations around the world are grappling with how to adjust to changing work demands in the post-Covid era. Apple’s decision comes after its own employees criticized the September deadline for being too early.

Even before Covid, the company was grappling with a potential loss of talent as workers – despite being relatively high earners – complained they could barely afford the extraordinary cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Just a few years after completing the multibillion-dollar Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple is now ramping up efforts to move away from Silicon Valley to decentralization.

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