Apple faces HyBrexit as employees rebel against three day office week while AirBnB touts flexi working
A group of Apple employees have argued that the tech giant’s planned partial move back to the office model three days a week will make the company ‘younger, whiter, [and] more male-dominated.’
The newly formed group ‘Apple Together’ petitioned the company on Friday in an open letter after CEO Tim Cook reportedly emailed staffers to inform them that they would need to work from the office one day a week starting on April 11, building up to three days per week after May 23 – when the tech giant’s “Hybrid Pilot” – as Cook referred to it – officially begins.
While Apple’s employees were also offered the option to work four weeks of the year fully remote, Apple Together dismissed the decision to bring employees back to the office as being motivated by “fear of the future of work, fear of worker autonomy [and] fear of losing control.’
The group argues that the shift back to office-based working will work against the tech giant’s diversity goals: “It will make Apple younger, whiter, more male dominate more neuro-normative and more able-bodied”
Apple Together argued that hybrid working would “Only benefit those who happen to be “born in the right place so they don’t have to relocate”; or staff that are “young enough to start a new life in a new city/country” or who have “ a stay-at-home spouse who will move with you.”
The group believes that Apple has fallen short of its diversity and equity goals and has created a space on the Slack-like app Discord to share their frustrations anonymously under the hashtag #AppleToo.
Apple Together’s qualms extend beyond diversity with the group laying out additional reasons for their displeasure with the company’s return to in-person work. Perhaps the most damming of these, for a tech firm, were the accusations that Apple was not practicing what it preached:
“We tell our customers how great our products are for remote work yet we ourselves can’t use them to work remotely.”
It concludes that office bound work is a construct from the last century before video calls and chat functions. “The future is connecting where it makes sense, with people who have relevant input no matter where they are based.”
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky meanwhile has announced in a statement that his staff can now ‘live and work from anywhere’ – including in over 170 countries overseas.
Starting this June the company will no longer pay people based on regional differences, and will pay a flat rate per country to each employee.
Although employees will need to have a home base for tax reasons they can spend up to 90 days per year in any country.
However, Chesky admitted there would be ‘tensions’ following AirBnB’s remote work policy writing: “Zoom is great for maintaining relationships, but it’s not the best way to deepen them,” adding that “some creative work is best done in the same room.’
The CEO added that employees would still meet quarterly for team gatherings.
The new model will apply to both staff in the US – where Airbnb has its HQ in San Francisco, along with locations in New York City, Seattle, Washington and Portland – and to workers in the UK.
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