Apple employees are being asked to return to the office three days a week beginning in early September. Tim Cook sent an email on Wednesday to notify staff of the change.
“Despite all that we have been able to achieve while many of us are separated, the truth is that something essential has been missing over the past year: each other,” he said. “Video conferencing may have narrowed the distance between us, but there are things it just can’t replicate.”
Cook said most employees will be asked to go to the office on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, with the option to work remotely on Wednesday and Friday. Teams that need to work in person come back four to five days a week.
Employees also have the chance to work completely remotely for up to two weeks each year, “to be closer to family and loved ones, find a different environment, arrange unexpected trips or some other reason for yourself,” the letter said. Managers must approve remote work requests.
The change isn’t entirely unexpected for Apple employees. Although employees have been working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, the company discouraged working from home before 2020. In December, Tim Cook told employees they could be asked to come back to the office as early as June, according to Bloomberg.
In Wednesday’s letter, Cook also encouraged all employees to get vaccinated.
“For now, let me just say that I look forward to seeing your faces,” he said in closing. “I know I’m not alone in missing the buzz of activity, the energy, creativity and collaboration of our face-to-face meetings and the sense of community we’ve all built.”