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Apple employees have hit back at the tech company’s back-to-office orders and started a petition saying the company risks stifling diversity and staff wellbeing by restricting their ability to work remotely.

The petition follows a memo to all employees from Apple chief executive Tim Cook, who said last week that workers should report to the office at least three days a week from September, including including Tuesdays, Thursdays and a third day. to be determined by each team.

The plan is looser than previous proposals which would have required staff to return every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, with Cook saying it would ‘enhance’ the company’s ability to work flexibly, ‘while preserving collaboration by person who is so essential to our Culture”.

However, a group of workers who operate under the name Apple Together circulated a petition pushing back against Cook’s orders, saying greater flexibility would promote diversity within the company.

“We believe Apple should encourage, not prohibit, flexible working to build a more diverse and successful company where we can feel comfortable ‘thinking differently’ together,” Apple’s petition said, according to the Financial Times. The petition added that the mandate failed to recognize that staff were “happier and more productive” with less traditional working arrangements.

“Are you an Apple office worker? Are you less than thrilled with the RTO [return to office] mandate? Sign the petition, let’s stay united,” the group said in a tweet related to the petition In Monday.

Apple Together reportedly plans to collect signatures this week before verifying them and sending them to iPhone maker executives.

While other tech companies such as Twitter and Facebook introduced policies early in the pandemic that allowed staff to work from home permanently, Apple maintained its stance that it expected employees return to long-term in-person work.

At least one high-level employee jumped ship as a result of Apple’s stance. Apple machine learning director Ian Goodfellow told staff in May that he was moving to Google in part because of more flexible work arrangements. “I strongly believe that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team,” Goodfellow reportedly told employees.

Apple has been contacted for comment.




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