WFH ends at Apple

The COVID pandemic has been like a big curse upon the world.

Countries have been stripped of their economy, people have lost their livelihood. And working professionals have been limited to working from home for more than two years now.

But, as global vaccination drives have been held through each and every country, the mortality rates against COVID have risen astoundingly.

So much so, that the world is now coming out of this coma. And, so is Apple.

The News:

Apple Inc. has established a deadline of April 11 for corporate employees who want to return to their work in person. This is the beginning of a crucial test to see if the tech giant can restore office work within Zoom time.

The employees will have to be in the office at least once a week until that date, following an email sent by the Chief of Staff, Tim Cook, on Friday. Within three weeks of April, 11 employees are expected to work two days every week. In addition, on May the 23rd, employees will have to be present at least three days per week—for example, on Tuesdays, Mondays, and Thursdays.

Cook said. "For several among you, I'm sure returning to office is a long-awaited moment. It is a positive indication that we can engage more deeply with our coworkers who play an integral role in the course of our daily lives," Cook said. "For some, it could be a stressful shift."

Apple has been working to return employees to the workplace since last June, but it has delayed the deadline for return multiple times during the time that the number of COVID cases increased throughout October, January, and February deadlines, finally putting off its return plans for December.

In the coming months and weeks, we will have the chance to blend the best we've learned from remote work with the invaluable advantages of collaboration in person, "Cook says in the memo." "It is as vital as ever that we be supportive of each other during this transition and through the difficulties we face as a group and throughout the world."

Apple has also informed employees that they'll receive one more month of working from home during the year as part of the hybrid pilot program.

Alphabet Inc.'s Google recently introduced a similar policy that requires its employees to stay in offices three days a week. Other companies, like Meta (Facebook + Instagram + WhatsApp and more) Platforms Inc. and Twitter Inc., have been more relaxed and have let some employees work from home for as long as they want, even though they have corporate office spaces.

Apple has been slowly decreasing COVID-19 guidelines in its organization. For example, the company has recently begun to end the mask requirement at stores that sell products to employees and shoppers and has no longer required office workers in certain regions to wear masks when they have been vaccination-free.

The Cupertino, California-based company has also increased its COVID-19 testing to every two weeks for all workers.

Masks will be required at the majority of U.S. sites in the next few months, Cook said Friday. As always, we will be monitoring local conditions and will be prepared to modify our procedures depending on the well-being of our teams as well as the communities we serve.

Apple operates corporate headquarters all over the globe, including Silicon Valley, London, and Japan. Within the U.S., it has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin, Boulder, New York, and Miami.

Apple removes the requirement for employees to wear masks as COVID cases decrease

Apple Inc. will gradually eliminate its mask requirements for retail and corporate employees within the U.S. as COVID-19 cases diminish and local governments relax restrictions.

The company also informed staff that masks that were required for vaccination of employees of the company are now optional in offices located in areas in which local indoor-mask requirements have been removed.

It also advised retail staff at a handful of establishments to wear masks on employees. The masks are set to be made optional on Friday. As time passes---as more regions abandon their mandates and the cases fall as cases decline---masks will be available to employees in more places.

The changes come one week after the company ended its mask requirement for customers at several places. However, it's still recommended for employees as well as customers to wear masks. They can be provided on request.

It is reported that the company also has plans to reinstate their on-site "Today at Apple" classes in retail stores across the U.S. The iPhone maker announced Thursday that classes will be back in March in all stores across the nation for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak.

It's the second time Apple has canceled its mask requirement for U.S. employees. The first time was in June when Apple removed the requirement for masks at several locations and offices for employees. However, it was later required to reinstate the rule several weeks later, amid a new wave of COVID-19 cases.