Apple employees ask for more flexible remote work options

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  • Reply 41 of 58
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,586member
    This doesn’t really surprise me.  We know that there was a group of people who never wanted to go back to the old normal. They make some decent points here on flexibility, but the thing where they call out management for statements like “we know many are anxious to get back to in person work” is where it goes off the rails.  Is that not a true statement management made?  It definitely comes off as pretty entitled and snowflake-like by the end.  The inclusion of the work language also just makes me roll my eyes. Just ask for more flexibility based on individual circumstances. Stop the moralizing. That would be my advice to these folks.  
  • Reply 42 of 58
    IreneWIreneW Posts: 225member
    dewme said:
    All of the productivity concerns are interesting to hear. At least from my experience over the past decade or so, since the adoption of Agile practices like Scrum and SAFe, hiding under performing team members would be very difficult because productivity is measured in terms of deliverables, not hours worked or effort expended. The granularity of status updates is also very fine grained so you would know very quickly if someone was falling behind or not meeting their commitments. On top of that, both team leaders and functional managers (in a matrix org) typically stay of top of how their individual team members are doing.

    Nowhere in the closed loop model for tracking project status towards deliverables are the questions "how many hours did you charge?" or "where did you perform your work?" The corporate accountants and people who manage the project budgets will certainly care about hours charged to projects, travel expenses, contractor charges, etc., but they aren't directly involved with productivity. 


    Thanks! Finally someone that knows what this industry looks like and describe the reality I live in. Sure, the US is often backwards, but some of the conservative comments here really surprised me.
    But Apple is already a distributed organization, so i don't think we have to worry, they will agree on a good balance.
  • Reply 43 of 58
    sbdudesbdude Posts: 67member
    Give them an inch …
    lkrupp
  • Reply 44 of 58
    temperortemperor Posts: 46member
    It's clear Apple has no means of measuring output / deliverables and uses buds on seats counting technique to measure productivity.Yes there are groups that need to work onsite, and to be clear even the ones that can work 100% remote should meet each other face to face ones or twice a week. But this rigid 3 days a week rhythm is more a move towards the old usual. It's a missed opportunity, many people will loose 2 to 3 hours in daily commute, eating up both productivity and quality of live. As a side note, I used to drive around 20 000 miles a year work related, last year 2 000 ... so that has a serious impact on the environment ... I guess being green goes only so far ... luckily my Employer has more sense and really did surveys and really has the tools to make fine-grained and well supported decisions.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 45 of 58
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,307member
    In Isaac Asimov’s novel, The Naked Sun, the main character Elijah Baley goes to a planet named Solaria to investigate a murder. This planet is occupied by a society that has totally eschewed physical contact. The inhabitants interact solely by technology, i.e. they all ‘work’ from home in today’s terms. Let’s just say it’s a dysfunctional society that Asimov describes. I can attest that meeting with friends via Zoom is NOT what it’s cracked up to be. The church I attend has lost members because it has been closed for a year due to the pandemic. Virtual services via Facebook live and Zoom are not spiritually satisfying at all. The church will fully reopen next week when Illinois removes all restrictions and I wonder who will be back or not.

    I completely, fully, vehemently disagree with those who think a detached workforce can be as productive as human interactions in person. As others have said the employer is the ultimate authority on how they run their business. The inmates do NOT run the asylum. I personally would not want my employees squirreled away in their closet/offices doing whatever.
    rob55
  • Reply 46 of 58
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,653member
    cpsro said:
    In what world is it “arguable” that the past year would’ve been better without the pandemic?
    That’s a joke. 
  • Reply 47 of 58
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,161member
    It's more like some just want to continue sitting at home and getting away with doing things they're not supposed to do while working from home. You know damn well some are taking advantage of this. Now that they see its starting to go away they're getting all pissy and whining about it. A phased approach I think is the best approach. They were working just fine from the office before the pandemic, they can phase back in and get used to it again. If not, then go someplace else. There's lots of talent waiting on Apple's doorstep willing to work in the office. 
    edited June 6
  • Reply 48 of 58
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,835member
    Work isn’t a democracy. Don’t like it? Quit. 
    macxpressrob55
  • Reply 49 of 58
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,513moderator
    macxpress said:
    It's more like some just want to continue sitting at home and getting away with doing things they're not supposed to do while working from home. You know damn well some are taking advantage of this.
    It has to be the case when there are so many people. A lot of people have become disillusioned with traditional work life now that so many people have experienced a better alternative. There's a reddit group that has grown 3x in size since the pandemic started that reflects some of how people are feeling:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/antiwork/Unemployment for all, not just the rich!

    There's a few links in there showing different studies of positives/negatives of working remotely:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2021/05/26/study-shows-people-working-from-home-are-having-sex-dating-taking-naps-and-doing-side-hustles-on-company-time/
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2021/04/26/remote-work-study-shows-the-possibility-of-a-new-corporate----two-class-system/
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/adigaskell/2021/05/31/how-productive-have-remote-workers-been-during-covid/

    Employees doing side jobs is an interesting one. Companies typically have contractual agreements trying to prevent this. Companies also tend to view employees as an hourly cost not a project cost so they won't look kindly on people doing other work on what they see as company billed hours.

    In Google's annual report, they said:

    "The prolonged and broad-based shift to a remote working environment continues to create inherent productivity, connectivity, and oversight challenges and could affect our ability to enhance, develop and support existing products and services, detect and prevent spam and problematic content, hold product sales and marketing events, and generate new sales leads, among others."

    Most jobs can't be done remotely anyway, the following says only around 34% can be:

    https://news.uchicago.edu/story/much-us-staying-home-how-many-jobs-can-be-done-remotely

    Apple has at least 70,000 retail employees out of 140k employees who will have to go in to work, as will people with job roles that involve hardware and machinery. Restaurants, construction, healthcare, Federighi's hair team will all have to go back. Jobs like software, marketing, legal can be partially remote and they probably won't all want to be remote. I expect it will end up being less than 25% of Apple's entire workforce but they need management procedures in place to ensure some people aren't just taking advantage, it's unfair on coworkers if they let people get away with that.

    As one of the above links suggests, it can create a class system in the workplace as employees showing up to work might be trusted more and form working relationships that lead to better promotion opportunities. All the salaries are high anyway so I doubt remote people would care that much if they are in it for the financial reward, they'd save more by living in a cheaper area.

    If remote working had been working out with the same or better productivity, I don't believe companies would be requesting employees back into the office just for the sake of it. As long as they are more supportive of remote work and flexible time, that will still go a long way towards a better work experience.
    macxpress
  • Reply 50 of 58
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,161member
    Also as some have already mentioned, Apple didn't build a $6 Billion campus that is specifically designed for collaboration within its different teams so most of its employees can work from home. I'm sure some will get fed up and leave and thats fine. Maybe they can find something that suits their new way of life. Apple will find someone to replace that person. There are so many people who would love to work for a company like Apple that are very talented. 

    I also think it's gotta be much harder to maintain confidentiality with everyone working from home. It's so much easier to just slip a quick look at a design plan, or a piece of note, etc. Or, even just family member overhearing a meeting or whatever. 

    Another thing I thought of is, what if some on a specific team do want to go back into the office and the rest don't. It seems like it would be much harder to get things accomplished and collaborate properly when you have half the team working from home and half the team in the office all the time, or even just 1 or 2 from the team working from home. Just breaks up the team as a whole. 
    edited June 6
  • Reply 51 of 58
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,830member
    hmlongco said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    They got to release day last month - and discovered no one had written the installer.  
    You say this as if it proves some sort of point. What makes you think the same exact oversight wouldn't have occurred if everyone was in the same office?
    Because the two products they did before the pandemic shipped with all their pieces, but that’s not the reason. 

    Having worked with developers for twenty-five years, I can tell you what happened here. Over the pandemic they slipped into silos. Without getting together there is a tendency for folk to focus inward on just the bit they were working on, without seeing the product as a whole. They developed bad habits, the worst of which was developing their own little scripts to get the product going without the installer that no one was writing. 

    I asked why the manager hadn’t picked this up.  

    “Well, the last two products had installation scripts, so they assumed that the devs had sorted this out amongst themselves.”

    Sad fact is that when remote working often means things get missed, or people who aren’t the best communicators at the best of times face an extra challenge. 

    Brainstorming designs over Zoom is not as good as four people in a room looking at an actual products can they can touch and hold. Collaborating on a tricky bug is better when two people can run and examine  the code. 

    Some jobs can be done remotely, some can be done partially remotely, some not at all. 

  • Reply 52 of 58
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,830member
    Marvin said:
    swineone said:
    It's high time the leadership tells people to get with the program and do the work they get paid to do, rather than revolting against a new hire, demanding Apple take a position in middle eastern wars, and now complaining they have to return to work.
    I have a feeling it's the same types of employees involved in all of them. These types tend to be opportunistic and weaponize core values against other people. They always use the same kind of statements:

    "we often felt not just unheard, but at times actively ignored"
    "feels dismissive and invalidating"
    "lived experiences"
    "Diversity and Inclusion"
    "We are living proof"
    "environmental impact of returning to onsite in-person work"
    "We all wish to continue to "bleed six colors""
    "ensuring we are all heard, represented, and validated"

    When people request that others validate their lived experiences, that means they want to go unchallenged regardless of whatever statements they come up with.

    One of these people is the following Apple engineer who makes $180k/year and was one of the people who spoke out against the hiring of the ad guy (over 2000 other employees signed a petition to Eddy Cue on that issue):

    https://twitter.com/cherthedev?lang=en

    There's a mention of remote work here:

    https://twitter.com/cherthedev/status/1400249791049785345

    "Remote work with geo pay that doesn't account for cost of living discrepancies to market value is racist"
    One of the responses was: "[remote work] also shields BIAPOC from (micro) racist coworkers/environments."

    The promotion of remote working is a really positive thing that has come out of the pandemic but the reality is there are a lot of opportunists in the world whose jobs are not always easy to check up on. There was a story recently of someone who skipped work as a hospital fire-safety employee for 15 years:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/23/world/europe/italy-hospital-worker-15-years.html

    When thousands of employees are being paid as much as $180k per year, it's understandable the company would want some assurance they aren't just spending the whole day in the bath. With software development, they can check remote logins and source code changes so it's one of the easiest jobs to allow to work remotely but you can see what would happen. As soon as they offer preferential treatment to certain job roles, they'll bring up things like how one particular job role disproportionately hires certain gender/race etc and it becomes a civil rights issue.

    Employment will be much better worldwide by accommodating remote work and companies won't have a lot of options because people will quit for companies that embrace it but these activist (whiny) employees are such a cancer on the workplace and the world in general. On the outside they give the impression they are being a positive force in the world but they are really just selfish, loud and want their own forms of hate for other people validated.

    To use the phrase "We all wish to continue to "bleed six colors" at Apple itself and not elsewhere" is insulting, what kind of way is that to talk, trying to use Apple's values against them if they don't get their own way. Whoever wrote that needs to be canned, that's not just someone who is representing workers, that shows a really deceitful personality that has no place at a progressive company like Apple.
    So let me get this straight:



    The solution to racism in the workplace is to hide black people away from the workplace? Isn’t this just giving in to workplace racists?  I dunno, this seems to be punishing the victim here.  

    And racism is just as likely to to occur on a zoom chat as it is in the office.  The only difference is that the victim is more isolated. 
  • Reply 53 of 58
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,513moderator
    Rayz2016 said:
    So let me get this straight:

    The solution to racism in the workplace is to hide black people away from the workplace? Isn’t this just giving in to workplace racists?  I dunno, this seems to be punishing the victim here.  

    And racism is just as likely to to occur on a zoom chat as it is in the office.  The only difference is that the victim is more isolated. 
    These statements have to be read through the lens of an opportunist. They aren't looking for solutions to problems, they are trying to assert problems to get what they want.

    It's a standard playbook that people use:
    First there is something they want - more money, better quality of life, better social standing.
    Then they figure out a route to pressure other people into giving it to them.
    With humanitarians/left-leaning people, the pressure point is their sympathy for victims.
    Get them to acknowledge there is a system of oppression, to acknowledge that they are one of the oppressed and the solution is what they originally want.

    If there was ever a solution to the presented problem, the opportunity goes away. The way they ensure there is never a route to a solution is to lack specificity, never naming names of oppressors or events of oppression, it's always that people just feel oppressed by unconscious and unrecorded oppression. But let them spend all day in the bath on $180k/year and that will help make things better.

    It's deceitful because the larger majority are playing off genuine suffering that a smaller amount of people experience for selfish gains and this has been seen in every major social movement over the past couple of decades and it's online communication that shapes people this way.
  • Reply 54 of 58
    dee_deedee_dee Posts: 66member
    sflocal said:
    dee_dee said:
    sflocal said:
    Employees seem to think they're the ones in a position to demand.
    Well they are, and I new something like this would happen and called it in the previous article.  I’m pretty surprised the pushback came so soon.  

    95% of the companies I interviewed with over the past 3 months ALL offered 100% remote. Apple is going to have a hard time competing with that.  I’m sure they will counter with the same bullshit line “innovation requires working together in person” and other “intangible” benefits, but the horses have already left the barn. 
    Oh sure... because your case scenario applies to 100% of all business right?

    I can see it now at remote-Apple.  Let's do a zoom meeting to discuss the iPhone 14 and 15, show the product in the zoom call, for everyone to look at, and maybe someone will record the zoom meeting and forward the video to some Apple rumor site.

    Apple will have zero difficulty finding replacements.  I'm not even defending Apple.  It's the entire millennial demanding and expectations.  It's been said countless times over the decades.  Employees are replaceable, except to you because it doesn't suit your narrative.

    My personal experience.  When COVID shut down our company, a handful of us stayed, everyday in an empty building trying to figure out how to get hundreds of employees the ability to work remotely. Not just computers, but phone systems too.  We eventually did it.  The result?  Productivity of many of those remote workers took a nosedive.  They just weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing at the times they were supposed to be.  Quite a few of them were sloppy on sites like Facebook and Instagram where it was obvious they were out and about like they were on vacation, along with quotes like "I can't work on a day like this!  Thank you COVID lockdown!! lol! "  There was abuse.  Many returned back to the office - or mores, were expected to.

    Fire them you say?  Good luck doing that in California, along with the super-strict employee protection rules that were put in place that gave many employees even more ability to abuse the spirit of the law.

    Remote works for some, not for all.  How many companies comprise your "95%"?  What industry are those companies in?  I doubt your pool of companies really represent the diverse kinds of businesses that are out there, so excuse me if I take what you claim with a grain of salt.

    While remote working may be here to stay, I think many that got spoiled from the COVID at-home order are going to have some serious reality checks if they believe that they're in a position to demand from an employer the ability to work from home.  I think most employers will be like.. NEXT APPLICANT PLEASE!

    Just wait till those government at-home paychecks cease.
    Reading comprehension isn’t your strong suite, is it?
    chemengin1heterotic
  • Reply 55 of 58
    Employees working in teams can more easily hide lower productivity as other employees can make up for it. The $180k software engineer mentioned earlier has a twitter feed with over 107,000 tweets over the past few years and has clearly been very active in recent weeks/months. If they are currently working from home, they sure must be spending a lot of that time on twitter and being paid for it
    What a bizarre take. A quick look at her profile shows that she's been on Twitter since 2008, so the 100k tweets is not really that odd, and works in security at Apple as a software engineer. It took me all of about 5 minutes to find she's a principal level engineer on a team of 5, is permanently remote, was actively recruited by Apple, is bipolar, and that her tweeting primarily happens on the weekend. Given that she has 30,000 followers, several of which are other Apple employees, pretty sure if she was sitting in the bath all day tweeting, she'd not have a job anymore. SWEs at that level on a small team are not invisible. She's just a loud feminist in tech who was once doxxed after a revenge porn scandal.

     I think most of you are taking their letter way too seriously. They asked for a survey about remote work, an exit interview question about remote work, disability education, and an environmental impact report. I feel like somehow we all read the same letter, but all of the angry people have terrible reading comprehension.
    edited June 7 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 56 of 58
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,513moderator
    heterotic said:
    Employees working in teams can more easily hide lower productivity as other employees can make up for it. The $180k software engineer mentioned earlier has a twitter feed with over 107,000 tweets over the past few years and has clearly been very active in recent weeks/months. If they are currently working from home, they sure must be spending a lot of that time on twitter and being paid for it
    What a bizarre take. A quick look at her profile shows that she's been on Twitter since 2008, so the 100k tweets is not really that odd, and works in security at Apple as a software engineer. It took me all of about 5 minutes to find she's a principal level engineer on a team of 5, is permanently remote, was actively recruited by Apple, is bipolar, and that her tweeting primarily happens on the weekend. Given that she has 30,000 followers, several of which are other Apple employees, pretty sure if she was sitting in the bath all day tweeting, she'd not have a job anymore. SWEs at that level on a small team are not invisible. She's just a loud feminist in tech who was once doxxed after a revenge porn scandal.

     I think most of you are taking their letter way too seriously. They asked for a survey about remote work, an exit interview question about remote work, disability education, and an environmental impact report. I feel like somehow we all read the same letter, but all of the angry people have terrible reading comprehension.
    The profile says based in Seattle and she's mentioned about not being able to relocate but Apple has offices in Seattle too. I'd expect she'd say 'they' instead of 'we' in the following message if it she was permanently remote but maybe it's just how it's phrased:



    That particular person may well be one of the good employees who can be trusted to work remotely, I don't believe that can possibly true for all of the thousands of people who will want to work remotely (there were reportedly 2800 employees involved) so it presents a challenge for Apple on how to handle it.

    The letter isn't just enquiring politely, they are including warnings they will consider leaving Apple if they don't get their way and getting multiple other employees to sign on.

    They all have privileged positions at Apple, some of the highest paid jobs in the industry where they can happily retire after a few years of work and are requesting a luxury that most lower paid employees around the world will never get because their job roles can't be done remotely. They not only get the benefit of the higher salaries but this would also give them the ability to live in nicer/cheaper accommodation than their co-workers, which in some cases can be tens of thousands of dollars difference per year. People who work in the cafeteria at Apple have to go in and have to live near the HQ, it's unfair on them to get higher living costs and a lower salary just because of their job.

    Consider if Apple implemented this and they allowed all remote-compatible jobs to work remotely permanently. Then some of those employees decide to relocate to cheaper areas. Employee A stays in the office on $salary and Employee B moves out of town and saves $3k/month on rent ($36k per year). Let's say Employee B productivity drops 20%, missing some meetings, missing some communication. How is Apple supposed to handle this? Should they pay Employee A more for the same job role, should they fire Employee B and lose an otherwise good employee? They can't undo this if people relocate.

    Some of the objection to the letter is because it's coming from privileged, highly paid millennials who are using causes that Apple cares a lot about in order to get a more privileged lifestyle than they already have. There's something unsavory about people who make so much money and have such a privileged lifestyle but tweet endlessly about how they and the people around them are victims in the world and make up clearly superficial excuses to try and get even more. I'm not saying people shouldn't get a better quality of life, I'm heavily pro-worker rights and anti-corporations, but these things are often presented as employee vs corporations and there are people on both sides and it's not clear how it can be implemented fairly for all employees and using mob tactics to get what they want sets a dangerous precedent. The more Apple rubber-stamps things as a result of mob tactics, they just keep coming back for more and for ever more petty and divisive issues.
  • Reply 57 of 58
    Marvin said:
    heterotic said:
    Employees working in teams can more easily hide lower productivity as other employees can make up for it. The $180k software engineer mentioned earlier has a twitter feed with over 107,000 tweets over the past few years and has clearly been very active in recent weeks/months. If they are currently working from home, they sure must be spending a lot of that time on twitter and being paid for it
    What a bizarre take. A quick look at her profile shows that she's been on Twitter since 2008, so the 100k tweets is not really that odd, and works in security at Apple as a software engineer. It took me all of about 5 minutes to find she's a principal level engineer on a team of 5, is permanently remote, was actively recruited by Apple, is bipolar, and that her tweeting primarily happens on the weekend. Given that she has 30,000 followers, several of which are other Apple employees, pretty sure if she was sitting in the bath all day tweeting, she'd not have a job anymore. SWEs at that level on a small team are not invisible. She's just a loud feminist in tech who was once doxxed after a revenge porn scandal.

     I think most of you are taking their letter way too seriously. They asked for a survey about remote work, an exit interview question about remote work, disability education, and an environmental impact report. I feel like somehow we all read the same letter, but all of the angry people have terrible reading comprehension.
    The profile says based in Seattle and she's mentioned about not being able to relocate but Apple has offices in Seattle too. I'd expect she'd say 'they' instead of 'we' in the following message if it she was permanently remote but maybe it's just how it's phrased:



    That particular person may well be one of the good employees who can be trusted to work remotely, I don't believe that can possibly true for all of the thousands of people who will want to work remotely (there were reportedly 2800 employees involved) so it presents a challenge for Apple on how to handle it.

    The letter isn't just enquiring politely, they are including warnings they will consider leaving Apple if they don't get their way and getting multiple other employees to sign on.
    I found this and  and  to suggest she lives in Missouri and I don't want to do much more searching as I'm feeling kind of like a stalker already.

    I will say that I read their "warnings" more as informing their leadership that without more flexibility for some cases, there are people who will have to quit because of some extraordinary circumstance that they don't think will be covered in the "rare exceptions" model they wrote about. I read it more like like there are people who actually need the flexibility and want to stay at Apple, but won't be able to, but trying to appease some other large volume of people who just don't want to go into the office. That seems the most likely given the volume of people in the Slack channel that was mentioned.
  • Reply 58 of 58
    dewme said:
    I get it that some people are sick of the commute and juggling issues with kids, pets, and personal appointments. Personally I prefer the physical separation between work and home. Working from home means I’m always at work mentally and physically, but that’s just the way my brain functions. Everyone’s experiences are different and as someone who spent several years in the Navy, where you are “at work” 24x7x365 unless granted “liberty” for a few hours at a time when in-port and 30 days off per year, and by the way, you cannot quit, I definitely have a different set of experiences and expectations of what constitutes personal hardship that was/is taken on by-choice. 

    That said, I’m open to employees expressing their personal concerns to upper management because we really want these organizations to function well and be highly productive. But at the same time, a job is a job and unless you are the boss, you always have to answer to someone else, especially when they are providing you with significant compensation, both in raw salary but also a comfortable work environment with all of the tools and access to training and experiences that enrich you personally and professionally. 

    I suppose that if you’ve never experienced the alternatives, like being in the military or other jobs that take you away from normal society, or doing a job you despise because you need the money, then your points of contention with a company like Apple may seem to be a burden. I guess. To me it sounds like they’re complaining about a glass that’s 90% full. I guess I’m now officially a dinosaur from another era and I just don’t get it anymore.
    You kinda root-caused the issue in your own argument when you said this about Navy “you can’t quit”. That’s the main difference here! The employees can quit for better options. Given they are paid ridiculously well by Apple or potentially the competitors, financial aspect then takes a lower priority if they can just quit for a company that allows them to work from the beach! But partly Apple has to be blamed for this “uproar” as well. You promote groups within your company in the name of diversity and what not, well group mentality is what’s now causing this! 
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