Probably employees should start looking at remote work options outside of Apple. One benefit of moving to another company is that you usually get a much larger raise compared to what you would get if you stayed at the same company.
And Apple (and other companies) should examine why people don't want to come in to the office in the first place. It might not actually be because employees want to slack off and avoid doing any work. (And bosses seem to conflate butts in chairs with productivity, but it's usually more about being able to monitor employees and having an enjoyable sense of superiority, control and ownership over them.)
Since more people want to work at home, Apple might be also be able to modify its office space to provide improved privacy and visual/sound isolation. Ideally they could add more walled offices for rank-and-file employees to provide real privacy and destroy the idea of walled offices as a social status symbol reserved for managers.
It’s two-fold. I also think it’s a test how loyal an employee is to the company, especially how Apple thinks. “Those who want to leave can leave.” The problem is that some real talent can be lost with this approach.
Second, those who stay might not actually be treated like the loyal employees they are supposed to be treated as, especially not by all tiers of management. They might be treated as those who were desperate to stay to keep their job and treated as such.
For example, offices could be changed to provide some of the benefits of home. Napping could become normalized, for example. More child care facilities could be provided. What else?
Hours could be adjusted, so parents are home when their kids return from school: Instead of distributing hours in full days at the office or home, how about being at the office 5-6 hours/day and at home the rest?
Hours could be more flexible, normalizing people running errands and doing other things during the day.
Dress codes? Pajama Fridays? What else?
EDIT: This HN thread and many others are filled with arguments for working from home. It's a hot topic and you can find them all elsewhere. Here I'm asking a different question: How can offices be improved based on what we've learned?
I don’t want to miss watching my kids grow up because by the time I drive home they’re already in bed. I want to spend my lunch hour with my family, instead of gossiping with my coworkers about office politics. I want to raise my children in a community of my choosing, surrounded by close friends and family, instead of the SFBA, which I have no connection to and frankly hate. I don’t want to waste literal years of my life commuting, which is consistently shown to be the least happy part of people’s day.
The median commute result in nearly 10 full days of driving each year, equivalent to about 30 full work days a year. Depending on the location, the local median can go as high as 14 full days, or 42 work days, of driving a year. Commutes are responsible for a 9.91% drop in hourly wages, as well.
Another way is to organize with your coworkers and either negotiate for commute compensation, or negotiate a wage that allows you to live close enough to work that you aren't spending a month of workdays a year simply driving to and from your job.
Addressing the 40 hour work week could help allievate this problem, as well. Productivity in the US keeps reaching new highs and yet workers are still expected to work the same amount of hours as they did in the past, and their compensation hasn't increased with those productivity increases.
For example, we could use remote work to reduce commute time. People can work remotely when transportation is slow, daily during rush hour, or when there is bad weather, construction, or otherwise. Combine that with four days at the office, and total annual commute time might be reduced 50% (as a wild guess: 20% less from 20% fewer days at the office, 30% from avoiding slow transportation).
Or, because we know people work effectively remotely, invest in public transit (or corporate transit for their employees) that facilitates working: Quality Internet service, quiet cars, private space for phone calls, etc.
> I want to raise my children in a community of my choosing, surrounded by close friends and family
It's a free country; you can do that right now. If you want to work for your current employer, you'll need to find an arrangement they find valuable or they have no reason to work with you.
> SFBA, which I have no connection to and frankly hate
> gossiping with my coworkers about office politics
You hate the community, your co-workers are no more interesting, important, or valuable to you than office gossip .... work from home isn't the issue.
"Employees are now discussing how best to respond, whether it be through another letter or legal action. About 10 people plan to resign or know others who will resign due to the hybrid policy, the report said"
Ten is more than one, but the article makes it sound like an exodus is impending.
If their plan is to work remotely from a low/moderate CoL location, their equity could give them a pretty long runway there.
Of course, the well-performing stock is probably part of the reason that Apple is insistent on asking employees to return, because they believe that they'll be able to hire new employees (who will be attracted by equity, among other things) to replace people who leave.
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1) Will employees demanding work from home / Utah etc be willing to accept Utah pay rates? You could probably just negotiate some deal, 50% of pay and full time work from home.
2) Were people hired based on an expectation of 5 days in office or work from home?
3) A fair bit of buzzword bingo - ADA claims, claims around diversity and inclusion. Are these things Apple is prioritizing or is to going to be what they consider useful for product and business execution?
4) The higher performing employees I know don't tend to go on strike, demand X, etc. They just find another job.
5) When someone says Apple Employees with no qualification - is that all employees - if so you'd think this would be bigger news.
Apple is likely at 100K+ employees. Even just a basic 10% attrition rate (avg is 17%) would be 10K+ employees per year. My guess is their turnover rate is lower (maybe 5%?) normally.
Our own offices went to high wall cubicles to reduce spread of germs, reduce audio distractions for zoom calls etc - I actually like it a lot. High noise absorbing walls (6') does wonders to overall sound in a space if everyone has them. Even have wrap around on desk edge so it's 3.5 sides.
2) Employers have changed the terms of employment at will for decades, I can literally find stories from a hundred years ago. This is a situation where employees are changing the terms (which also happened a hundred years ago in the US)
3) The American Disabilities Act is a law, diversity and inclusion are concepts. There is a large difference between being bad for diversity/inclusion and violating the law. When you violate the ADA you open yourself up to lawsuit (although the loss is a drop in the bucket for a company Apples size)
4) And? Companies need all types. The mid-performers and even the low-performers provide value (otherwise they wouldn't maintain employment). If all you care about are your high performers you'll have a larger churn and pay the price.
5) It's the verge, do you really think they're for high quality rigorous analytics reporting? No, they got a few chat threads and made some inferences. It may be that literally only 10 people at the company care about this (unlikely)
2) Employees also find what works and switch jobs. You don't need to throw around things like diversity, inclusion, ADA - you can just go find a WfH job (there are a lot more these days) if that's what you want / need.
3) The claims of violation in this article are thin. It's not clear employees have described medical condition, provided docs, done the interactive process. How has apple violated the ADA? Note that the ADA is not a free pass either.
4) The lower performers may seem to be easier to replace - so may not be key retention targets. Note that I've seen incredible accommodation of key retention target staff (ie, live on a boat, x hours of private jet travel etc).
5) Every industry has higher churn now because of wfH (mine included). This is not headline news necessarily.
The Sandy City and Bountiful City areas have some really good schools. Sandy is the closest to the mountains for skiing and hiking. Bountiful also has a lot of trails you can hike/bike but skiing is ~45 minutes away (whereas Alta Ski Resort is only 20ish minutes from Sandy).
Feel free to email me if you have any extra questions. firstname.lastname@example.org
We just experienced an extended period of time, longer than anyone expected in February 2020, where literally everyone was either unable to come to work for, essentially, medical reasons, or required serious and unprecedented accommodations (distancing/barriers, masks, cleaning, etc.) to do so. Companies that were able to look that reality in the face and admit it were able to keep executing. Companies that couldn't admit the facts struggled in the early days, and their most capable employees had plenty of alternatives.
The more your company is able to handle the fact that different people have different needs, the more effective your company is at delivering business value, for all sorts of reasons. You can adapt to unusual conditions like a pandemic where everyone suddenly has different needs all at once (and the resulting needs of people who live by themselves are very different from the needs of parents of young children, etc.). You can hire talent who is good at the actual job you want them to do without also expecting them to be good at, say, walking around an office. You can retain experienced employees who become disabled. And so forth.
> Apple will apparently make exceptions for people with documented medical conditions, but acquiring that accommodation reportedly requires employees to confirm their status by releasing medical records to the company. The demand made some people uncomfortable, the report said.
If you have a medical exemption requiring accommodations to allow for remote work, I think it makes sense that you provide some sort of proof. How is that unfair?
Asking for documentation in these situations is somewhat routine when the issue is not obvious. Someone who used to be able to work in the office, and now can't return, that's not going to be super obvious necessarily why WfH is needed (and separately a reasonable request).
"An employer may require that the documentation about the disability and the functional limitations come from an appropriate health care or rehabilitation professional. The appropriate professional in any particular situation will depend on the disability and the type of functional limitation it imposes. Appropriate professionals include, but are not limited to, doctors (including psychiatrists), psychologists, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, vocational rehabilitation specialists, and licensed mental health professionals.
In requesting documentation, employers should specify what types of information they are seeking regarding the disability, its functional limitations, and the need for reasonable accommodation. The individual can be asked to sign a limited release allowing the employer to submit a list of specific questions to the health care or vocational professional." - EEOC.
People feeling uncomfortable on what were previously normal requests is also quite a bit more common.
Is not the same as providing a reasonable degree of proof, you employee (in general) should not need to know what exactly your medical conditions are in
full details. Knowing that you have conditions, at most with some rough direction should be enough.
> know about that one issue
Knowing that you have that conditions is still not the same as releasing medical records specific to that condition.
So you employee should neither have your full medical records nor a sub-set specific to a certain condition. Just a document confirming that you have that condition.
Reality is in most cases employer just talks to employees or condition is obvious (use of a wheelchair etc). In most cases accommodation measures are routine / trivial (better chair, taller desk, different schedule such as part time work for reduced pay etc etc, ergo keyboard).
Honestly, stuff like this where you hear ADA requiring employers to supposedly let people work from Utah where COL is 1/2 bay area is what gives ADA type stuff a bad name. It's not the common track and obviously open to more abuse particularly if no documentation is provided.
Source: I have disabilities that I've fought with multiple employers over.
But the idea that oh, I've got something so ADA let's me work from home is really not true - there is usually much much more back and forth in these things.
This whole "let's see your medical history" approach is a very slippery slope and one I hope we don't fall down.
Edit: For more context, your doctor could determine in one visit that you have a newly arisen chronic ailment that's debilitating but your employer may set a threshold of a certain # of visits over a period of time in order to qualify for that chronic ailment...
In fact, they can even have you to go to an employer selected doctor if you're not giving them good info / good docs - this is someone who will be paid by employer to check into your condition and report back to them.
"May an employer require an individual to go to a health care professional of the employer's (rather than the employee's) choice for purposes of documenting need for accommodation and disability?
The ADA does not prevent an employer from requiring an individual to go to an appropriate health professional of the employer's choice if the individual provides insufficient information from his/her treating physician (or other health care professional) to substantiate that s/he has an ADA disability and needs a reasonable accommodation. "
Note - I'm not aware of this being common because employees will generally be better off having their own doctor release their own records or respond to employers questions about medical condition. Again, records are limited to the specific issue and need for accommodation / functional issues etc.
Throw more money at the marketing department to make them comply.
Apple users have always dealt with hardware and software issues, the engineers are interchangeable. The brand image is non negotiable.
I've used enough Apple products to wonder "WTF is everyone else thinking."
P.S. Yes I recognize that there may be people in precarious situations who may not afford such actions but majority of FAANG employees are not it.
Some people have ethical standards. Not sure what percentage.
Strikes me as an internal matter, frankly, I don't have a dog in this fight. I'm cynical enough to think that sunk costs on their enormous (and admittedly impressive) space donut is playing a role here, but it's their company to run, and it's the employee's jobs to negotiate.
I decided years before the pandemic that I didn't want to go into the office anymore, and plan to stick with it for as long as I can.
Its company's policy, they wanted to work there in the first place.
Nowadays people are complaining about everything
(1) Some workers say they are just as effective at home
(2) Some higher ups believe employees are noticeably more productive in the office
Comparing the veracity of these two opposing statement, both from groups that have some claim to authority on the matter is hard. I, as an external observer, can only really judge with the aid of some secondary information. Both claims seem, on the surface, plausible.
However, if we are indeed missing some larger point, there must some data to backup claim (2). That data does not seem to be made public, as reported quarterly profits during the pandemic were up. Not releasing that information is up to Apple, they don't need to let outsiders know how the sausage is made.
More importantly, if a non-trivial # of employees believe (1), regardless of its veracity, then Apple isn't correctly communicating their reasons for (2) internally. So at this point, we, as outside observers, don't know the reasons, many of the employees don't seem to know/believe the reasons, but we should take Apple Management's word for it?
You may trust the word of one group of the other, I'm not here to question that. Such value judgements are how we navigate life. However, expecting me to believe Apple's Management on face value, when their formerly happy-to-come-in employees don't is a tough sell.
The new Apple is as boring as IBM.
As corporate as it gets, lazy, crazy rich with no vision.
Losing their touch!
I understand the hard line stance here.
If you are working on a bumble fuck app, great, work from home. There are websites that are ready to publish any little rumor about a new feature in ‘Find my Mac’ because someone’s wife spied it, and told her friend.
Consider this a good problem.
Yes, if you’re working on next gen hardware I can see how that could be challenging. But what about the 2000 employees they have that do App review? (This number was revealed in their ongoing court case with epic) I would wager the majority of jobs at Apple don’t involve things that require physical isolated access
Time and human nature is an age old tale.
This open office garbage has to end; remote work is one thing but you're asking people to basically give up having a private office with no commute to sit in a visually noisy (if not auditorially noisy) space so that some managers can live the panopticon.
People make the flexibility argument about open offices: but Apple is not the company that needs to be flexible.
People make the collaboration argument; but studies show people do not interact more in open offices.
People make the financial argument; but Apple is the most valuable company in the world.
There is no justification for this, it's just politicking and managers wanting to feel power.
Apples most innovative years were done with mostly private offices.
i do not buy this at all. in the office i interacted with dozens of people daily that i otherwise have no specific reason to directly send slack message to.
Private offices with public congregating areas and meeting rooms are strictly better than open offices, in my opinion. Even cube farms are an improvement over the bullpen open plan, if a company can't afford enough real estate to give everyone their own office.
Remote work entails stronger tradeoffs. I've been at it for four years, and would never go back, but it does take a certain sort of personality and working style to make it functional, and the case for offices is strong.
The post you're replying to was perhaps conflating the two questions, but was specific about addressing open plan offices.
I can't agree with this enough. Private cubes and offices always felt like I was given the respect I was entitled. You understand that when I clock in and clock out, I am working. I am converting man hours into the task you need done. I am not screwing around doing nothing all day. Managers whom I've had that didn't like those ideas and wanted you in open office environments tended to be power oriented or had nothing else better to do with their time but to spy on employees.
They must want to make the investment in that massive office feel worth it? Like that "we built a new office that emphasizes our company's values" garbage works great on management. I wonder how much is wanting to watch over the employees, and how much is wanting to make good on your fancy new toy. I find it very difficult to justify requiring Apple employees in the office.
I obviously don't think highly of Apples' creative and engineering talent... do they still have weight to pull at the company? It seems like a management farm to me now. I hope that doesn't seem harsh.