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Apple delays mandatory return to office until January 2022, citing COVID-19 surge

The company will give staff a month’s notice before they have to return to work

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Apple is delaying its mandatory return to offices until at least January 2022, citing a surge in COVID-19 cases. The company will give employees a month’s notice before they have to return to in-person work.

In an internal email sent this evening, Deirdre O’Brien, senior vice president of people and retail, encouraged employees to get vaccinated and noted that Apple retail stores remain open.

“I know there are feeling of frustration that the pandemic is not yet behind us,” she wrote. “For many colleagues around the world, this period has been a time of great tragedy, suffering, and heartbreak. Please know that we are all here to support one another and stand with one another during such challenging times.”

The company, which previously discouraged working from home for most employees, changed its stance in June when Tim Cook said he would test a hybrid work model that would require employees to return to the office three days a week starting in early September. That date was then moved to at least October — and now the New Year.

Some employees have pushed back strongly against this model, saying they want a more flexible policy where anyone who wants to work from home can.