News: Apple employees push back on return to office

Employee Relations

Apple employees push back on return to office

Some Apple workers are ignoring the tech giant’s summons and instead filed a petition demanding more flexibility.
Apple employees push back on return to office

Workplaces could soon see a major shift in the employer-employee dynamic as workers start to demand more from their bosses to deserve their employment and effort, a political analyst said.

With the world economy showing signs of recovery from the pandemic, employers have started requiring their staff to go back to the office as a way to return to normality. However, not everyone is successful in convincing their employees to leave their work-from-home setups.

Companies are starting to see more pushback from their workers regarding their return-to-office policy. The latest one of these is Apple Inc., which saw its staff ignore the tech giant’s summons and instead file a petition demanding more flexibility. 

Read more: Apple accused of 'unethical' labour practices

These kinds of disagreements between employers and their workers could become more common as employees gain more sway in workplaces, according to long-time pollster and analyst Frank Luntz.

In an interview with CNBC, Luntz explained how the power dynamic between bosses and workers is beginning to change.

“The public expects the CEO to deserve [their] employment, to deserve [their] effort,” Luntz said.

“It’s a very different world today than it was before Covid and make no mistake – this is the way it is across the board; it doesn’t matter whether you’re in Washington state or Florida, or working class or upper middle class.”

Employees pushing back

In August, Apple told its employees working in Santa Clara County near the company’s California HQ that they are expected to work three times per week in the office starting in September. The move is believed to be part of Apple’s commitment to in-person work, which is required in the development and sale of its hardware products.

However, a group of workers known as AppleTogether pushed back against the company’s order. The Apple employees argued that the tech giant should encourage, not prohibit, flexible work to build a more diverse and successful organisation where staff would be able ‘think different’ together.

In their petition, AppleTogther accused the return-to-office policy of failing to acknowledge that Apple workers were “happier and more productive” in less traditional working arrangements. 

Read more: Apple fires worker who led #AppleToo protest

For Luntz, the incidents such as those at Apple are symptomatic of the evolving landscape in workplaces. He said workers are pushing for changes in their work setups, such as better flexibility and more control over their lives.

“It’s one of the reasons why so many businesses cannot hire the people they want – individuals now have two, three, or four job options, and they’re going to go where they feel their quality of life is not messed up,” Luntz said.

To address the issue, Luntz believes companies will need to shift their focus from being merely a corporation to a job creator.

“If you’re a job creator, it’s all about what you do for the people who you serve,” Luntz pointed out. 

“It isn’t about how much money you give, it’s about what you do for your people to make their lives meaningful and measurably better.”

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Topics: Employee Relations, Employee Engagement

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