Tim Cook, the Apple CEO, was one of the few resistant to the homework movement. Cook is similar to his fellow CEOs at Amazon, Google and Facebook who rented, bought, or are building a business space, while telling employees they can work from home. You can’t fault them for wanting staff to come to the office because Apple has Magnificent and expensive corporate housing.
Cook is starting to sound a little more open-minded. In a recent conversation at the Virtual Atlantic Festival, the CEO said he was “impressed with the ability of employees to operate remotely and predicted that some new work habits would remain after the pandemic.” He commented on his team’s ability to design and build new Apple Watches and iPads, while working remotely and said: “[The company won’t likely] going back to how we were because we’ve found that there are things that virtually work really well. Only about 10-15% of Apple employees have ever returned to the office.
Cook has not fully embraced the work from home trend and has doubts saying: “[It’s] not like being together physically. This can lead to a loss of creativity and the absence of chance meetings and conversations. Even with his reluctance, Cook had previously announced that employees could work remotely until 2021. Cook said: “To go beyond that would require depend on the success of a vaccine, success with therapy [and other factors]. ”
He added that Apple’s game plan for reopening its offices will be based on how the company runs its retail stores. The openings and closures were like an “accordion” that contracted and extended when needed, based on information at the time. His comments are in keeping with his calm and thoughtful demeanor, which is ironically the opposite of founder Steve Jobs’s enthusiastic and excitable approach to business.
At first glance, it may seem that Cook is undecided. Extensive research on the remote working trend indicates that many CEOs are following the same path as Cook. They recognize that the science behind Covid-19 and prior beliefs is constantly evolving. Therefore, it is not easy to make an edict that will stand the test of time.
Google, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, JPMorgan and others have all recently shared their thoughts. The consensus among the top CEOs seems to be a mixed, flexible and hybrid approach to work.
People who have health problems or want to return to work may be allowed to stay at home. Those who have to be in the office – by the nature of the job – will return, as will those who desire the social interactions and benefits that come with being with others.
To ensure health and safety, shifts can be scheduled. The traditional nine to five workday can be replaced by shifts early in the morning and later in the day. Employees could be asked to work three days in the office and two at home.
Although some companies, like JP Morgan and Netflix, clearly want people in the office, are reasonable and have all options open. We are currently living in an unprecedented period, forcing companies to be fluid and flexible as they face the unpredictable nature of the epidemic and protect their workers.
The comments contrast with the views of other executives, such as Netflix’s Reed Hastings, who recently called remote working “purely negative” and JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, who warned of lasting damage if workers do not return to the office soon.