Apple bringing workers back to HQ in mid-June

Taking the step sooner than other tech giants, Apple is about to start bringing workers back to the office.

The company, which employs 137,000, is planning on Monday, June 15 as the kickoff date for this move. That’s when Apple begins the first phase of its plan for employees to return to work — particularly at its Silicon Valley headquarters in Cupertino, California.

However, the company is also stressing that most staffers won’t return to the office for at least several months, Bloomberg News is reporting. This initial phase will be “very limited,” with workers only allowed in their offices on certain days depending on their exact job, the company told employees in an internal memo.

With the coronavirus crisis continuing and federal social-distancing guidelines still in effect, Apple is taking a number of proactive steps to protect employees’ health when they return, Bloomberg reported. These include the following:

  • Masks will be required at all times across Apple’s Silicon Valley offices.
  • A limited number of workers will be allowed to be in each building simultaneously.
  • Similar measures will be in effect for confined spaces like elevators.
  • Many break-room kitchens will be closed.
  • Staffers are encouraged to take Covid-19 nasal swab tests provided by the company, either on-site or at home, before returning to their workplaces.
  • The company is implementing social distancing, taking employees’ temperatures and requiring them to pass a daily health check to stay in the office.

Like every employer in the COVID-19 era, Apple is grappling with how to bring employees back to work — making tough calls about everything including how many people can get on an elevator at the same time.

However, Apple is also one of the first tech companies to start bringing staffers back to the office.

Facebook is following a string of other tech firms in embracing permanent remote working. About half of the social networking giant’s workforce will perform their roles outside of Facebook offices within 10 years. The company expects that, with social distancing measures in place when offices reopen, it can only support 25% density and capacity in its workspaces.

Facebook employees had already been extended the option to continue working remotely throughout the summer.

The company follows in the footsteps of Twitter, which told employees they can choose to work from home forever if they wish, even after the worst of the pandemic has passed. This is also true for Square, which is giving its employees the flexibility to work “where they feel most creative and productive.”