Apple 'cracking down' on non-work Slack channels over staff remote work debate [u]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 29
An internal Slack channel discussing Apple's remote working plans is under threat as the company is to enforce its rule limiting channels to specific project work.

Apple Park
Apple Park


Apple staff have already written two letters asking for more flexible remote working options -- and Apple has postponed return to work until October.

However, internally, arguments are continuing among staff in a Slack channel. According to Zoe Schiffer of The Verge, staff are objecting to how the most recent letter proposed pay cuts for remote workers.

The last letter Apple employees wrote advocating for remote work sparked a bit of controversy internally. It included a proposal for location-based pay cuts for fully remote employees. Some felt like this could unfairly disadvantage women and people of color.

-- Zoe Schiffer (@ZoeSchiffer)


Schiffer says that the staff who wrote the second letter have pointed out that Apple "already adjusts pay for fully remote workers outside the Bay Area."

"Apple has made it clear that the earliest it'll ask employees to return to the office is October," she continues. "Still, internally, people feel like the company isn't listening to their demands."

The debate is reportedly taking place in an internal Slack channel with around 6,000 Apple staff. However, Schiffer says that this channel is now under threat.

"Apple also recently began cracking down on Slack channels that aren't directly related to work," she says. "The company bans channels 'for activities and hobbies' that aren't directly related to projects or part of official employee groups -- but this wasn't always enforced, employees say."

UPDATE July 29, 2021: 09:50 AM Easter: Sources with knowledge of the matter have contacted AppleInsider to say that is not correct that Apple is cracking down on the Slack channels. They claim that the channels concerned are still up and in use.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,724member

    "Apple has made it clear that the earliest it'll ask employees to return to the office is October," she continues. "Still, internally, people feel like the company isn't listening to their demands."
    Maybe if they approached it as a dialog and flexible requests they might have more success.  

    Not many people or companies respond well to demands.  Especially out-of-contract ones.
  • Reply 2 of 19
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,716member
    Closing the Slack channel comes off as rather petty. It's not like it will stop the discussions, they'll just move somewhere else online, Discord maybe, or one of the other dozen similar tools. This whole situation is making Apple look bad, and I'm sure headhunters from other companies with more flexible work plans are circling to pick off the best people. 
    elijahgcornchipchemengin1
  • Reply 3 of 19
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,740member

    "Apple has made it clear that the earliest it'll ask employees to return to the office is October," she continues. "Still, internally, people feel like the company isn't listening to their demands."

    Apple hasn't acquiesced to their demands. That's not the same as "not listening"
    If you're that unhappy, find a new job.
    omasouBeats
  • Reply 4 of 19
    xbitxbit Posts: 302member
    DAalseth said:
    Closing the Slack channel comes off as rather petty. It's not like it will stop the discussions, they'll just move somewhere else online, Discord maybe, or one of the other dozen similar tools. This whole situation is making Apple look bad, and I'm sure headhunters from other companies with more flexible work plans are circling to pick off the best people. 
    Agreed. It'll just move the conversion to somewhere that Apple can't monitor and where people feel less need to self-censor.
    elijahgchemengin1
  • Reply 5 of 19
    omasouomasou Posts: 208member
    Seems like the employees have had a taste of what it is like to add a bit of balance to work/life b/c they're not spending hours sitting in SV traffic anymore. It will be hard for all companies in the area to overcome the new SV work/life balance. But the employees will need to understand that the reason they make so much crazy money is b/c they are willing to shift the balance to work, if not then pay will be adjusted accordingly.

    Might be the beginning of the SV exodus.
    Beatsllamahcrefugee
  • Reply 6 of 19
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,814member
    crowley said:

    "Apple has made it clear that the earliest it'll ask employees to return to the office is October," she continues. "Still, internally, people feel like the company isn't listening to their demands."
    Maybe if they approached it as a dialog and flexible requests they might have more success.  

    Not many people or companies respond well to demands.  Especially out-of-contract ones.
    Totally agree on establishing a working dialog, as long as people on both sides are willing to listen. As an employee I’m always going to seek out the best deal for myself. However, things like location-based salaries are a reality in any situation where an employer has to physically bring people into an area like California or NYC. It would be nearly impossible and unfair for employees (non-exploitable ones at least) to go into the SF Bay Area without cost of living adjustments. Likewise, expecting to pull in a SF Bay Area adjusted salary while working remotely in Dubuque, Iowa is not a fair deal for the employer. 

    Like I’ve said before, there is a lot of momentum, tradition, and long standing norms that are being challenged by the pandemic response. One of the existing norms in private business is that (non top level) employees do not generally share information about individual salary and compensation. At some level this creates a constant tension, implicit competitiveness, and fuzzy notion of where one really stands in the overall pecking order, at least at an individual level. From a management perspective the situation is actually quite different and secretive, the classic “force ranking” that is used to sort the wheat from the chaff and often used to decide who gets the first promotion and who gets the first pink slip. 

    We all accept the norms around secretive salary/compensation information in private industry but it’s not a universal system. At least in the military and in most civil service organizations, everyone at the same rank and years of service get the same base salary. Of course there are other allowances added to individual pay to compensate for individual circumstances, some fair and some not so much, but at least these extra allowances are out in the open, published, calculable, and not arbitrary.

    I sometimes wonder if at least some of the existing norms in terms of salaries and compensation in private industry are in need of change? If companies published, at least internally, the base rate for each position along with the allowances for individual situations such as working remotely in Podunk, PA would the situation be any better or worse? From an employer like Apple’s perspective this calculus is already being employed, but only they, the managers who deal with these things, actually know what the numbers are and how the formula is applied. I’m not sure society as a whole is ready for a truly “open compensation information” model. It could lead to free agency and sniping of employees between companies, and of course a gradual move towards socialism.

    The current fuzzy, noisy, secretive, oftentimes arbitrary, and clear delegation-of-power model that is currently in place isn’t perfect but it has worked for a very long time. If the current activism within Apple gains momentum and everyone digs in their heels, what comes out the other side may be hugely disruptive to how private industry works for the foreseeable future. That’s a problem for the next generation to solve.
    emig647
  • Reply 7 of 19
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,435member
    Apple aside I don't understand a lot of the companies "demanding" remote workers coming back, especially to the Bay area. Cost for having office space there is sky high. We have gobs of data showing remote workers are as or more productive than at the office. Workers are working longer hours (offset by not having to spend 2-3 hours a day commuting).

    Companies could more easily diversify and spread hubs throughout the country. Reduce the amount spent in SV, bring up other communities all while saving money.
    chemengin1
  • Reply 8 of 19
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,527member
    What a minute. Since when were “women” and “people of color” more important than everyone else? I know weak beta simps worship women but why are they more important than anyone else here. Ironically someone’s gonna call me “racist” or “sexist” for believing in equality.

    I suggested the more lazy workers get paid less. It’s just common sense. No one is entitled to Covid conditions post-Covid and these Slackers weren’t protesting when they were in the office. Why does everyone else have to go to work while some of the richest employees in the world cry about having to go back?
    cornchip
  • Reply 9 of 19
    Oh, no wonder the employees want to continue to WFH: they have Slack.

    All Apple IT needs to do is move everyone to MS Teams and, well, problem solved.
    llamaapplguyxbit
  • Reply 10 of 19
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,724member
    Oh, no wonder the employees want to continue to WFH: they have Slack.

    All Apple IT needs to do is move everyone to MS Teams and, well, problem solved.
    And a whole new raft of problems created.  MS Teams is garbage.
    Beatsapplguyhcrefugee
  • Reply 11 of 19
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Disadvantages people of colour?




    Yeah, I’m sure you mean well, but the solution to racist co-workers is not to hide black people at home. The solution is to fire the racist co-workers. Home working does not fix racist work environments, it makes them worse. 
    BeatsDAalsethapplguyhcrefugeemknelson
  • Reply 12 of 19
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,265member
    DAalseth said:
    Closing the Slack channel comes off as rather petty. It's not like it will stop the discussions, they'll just move somewhere else online, Discord maybe, or one of the other dozen similar tools. This whole situation is making Apple look bad, and I'm sure headhunters from other companies with more flexible work plans are circling to pick off the best people. 
    Not really as these employees seem petty and unwilling to live up to their contractual obligations. No company wants someone else’s problem. I promise these were instigators and non team players long before the pandemic whether they believe they are or not. They will be happily replaced and HR will add a layer of vetting recruits to ensure they don’t hire similar employees. Good riddance. 

    Apple almost never looses their best employees to another company. That is referenced by you never hearing about them again. When they loose one of their best, they are charting their own path by founding a company. The best employees are entrepreneurs at heart and look at
    their project as if it was their own company. They are not sitting around trying to figure out how to work from home. 
    edited July 28 Beatscorebeliefshcrefugee
  • Reply 13 of 19
    Apple outperforms at a historic level because it has unprecedented operational control. As consumers, we'll be the first to notice the drop off when these employees win the internal battle for how the company is run. 
  • Reply 14 of 19
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,716member
    crowley said:
    Oh, no wonder the employees want to continue to WFH: they have Slack.

    All Apple IT needs to do is move everyone to MS Teams and, well, problem solved.
    And a whole new raft of problems created.  MS Teams is garbage.
    I think that was the point. If Apple moved to Teams then everyone would WANT to go back to the office. 
    applguy
  • Reply 15 of 19
    iadlibiadlib Posts: 84member
    This is like when the Borg Queen tried to eliminate Unimatrix Zero in Star Trek Voyager in the two part cliffhanger between season 6/7. It ultimately worked but only served to created a splinter resistance movement among the drones.

    it makes me so genuinely happy to see Apple try to squash this debate because they’re blindly following doctrine. Oh the irony 😏
  • Reply 16 of 19
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,765member
    dewme said:

    One of the existing norms in private business is that (non top level) employees do not generally share information about individual salary and compensation. At some level this creates a constant tension, implicit competitiveness, and fuzzy notion of where one really stands in the overall pecking order, at least at an individual level. From a management perspective the situation is actually quite different and secretive, the classic “force ranking” that is used to sort the wheat from the chaff and often used to decide who gets the first promotion and who gets the first pink slip.
    Salary transparency is needed, if for no other reason than to help stop salary discrimination based on sex. There are a lot of women who are underpaid simply because they don't know, and are not allowed to know, how much their male counterparts are making. Plus far too many managers play manipulative games with their staff in regards to salary. It would be nice to take that divisive tool away from them.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,724member
    DAalseth said:
    crowley said:
    Oh, no wonder the employees want to continue to WFH: they have Slack.

    All Apple IT needs to do is move everyone to MS Teams and, well, problem solved.
    And a whole new raft of problems created.  MS Teams is garbage.
    I think that was the point. If Apple moved to Teams then everyone would WANT to go back to the office. 
    Lol.  Joke
    ^
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    My head.
    IreneW
  • Reply 18 of 19
    Slack makes me uncomfortable. It is the gray area of intra-company communications. They don't tell you but everything you write on Slack can be viewed by your employer (really, I am not making this up). But the worst part is that it encourages employees to chat in what they think is a private way but using company computers and networks. This is not a good thing to do at any company. Keep your private thoughts and social relations to venues outside of your company. Your company is a place for you to work on behalf of your employer. Apple should consider pulling the plug on Slack and stick with formal company communications on their intranet.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    It doesn't help when you use words like "demands" .

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