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Apple CEO says staff won’t return to the office until June 2021

The majority of Apple employees likely won’t return to Apple’s Cupertino campuses until June 2021, Apple CEO Tim Cook said at a town hall meeting this week.

During the meeting, details of which were obtained by Bloomberg, Cook said that while “face-to-face collaboration is important”, the company’s successes this year could lead to the company being more flexible about remote work in the future.

He told employees that it “seems likely” that the majority of employees won’t be back in physical offices until June 2021. Cook previous said in July that he expected staff to return to campuses in early 2021, but the company has been forced to modify its plans to the ongoing global pandemic.

“There’s no replacement for face-to-face collaboration, but we have also learned a great deal about how we can get our work done outside of the office without sacrificing productivity or results,” he told staff, according to Bloomberg.

“All of these learnings are important. When we’re on the other side of this pandemic, we will preserve everything that is great about Apple while incorporating the best of our transformations this year.”

Although the company has revised its plans for a return to the office in early 2021, Cook has been publicly adamant about his desire for employees to return to the office following the rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Apple SVP of hardware engineering Dan Riccio also spoke about the hardships of remote work during the town hall meeting, saying it was a “huge challenge” to design devices remotely. Engineers were able to implement workarounds like remotely controlling robots, collaborating with overseas technicians through augmented reality software, and rescheduling work hours to better communicate with employees stationed in China, the report said.

While most Apple employees will continue to work remotely for the next six months, employees deemed “essential” have been heading into the company’s physical offices in May. However, as noted by Bloomberg, Apple Park and other Apple facilities remain largely empty.

Cook added that because of the challenges of recent months, Apple will be giving employees in many regions an additional paid holiday scheduled for January 4.

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