Apple is once again pausing its return to in-person plans due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. The company had originally said that employees would be required to work in-person three days per week starting next week on May 23, but it is now delaying that requirement.
The company also has not yet set a date when this requirement will take effect. However, employees are expected to continue working two days per week.
Apple employees started returning to in-person work on April 11, following a two-year stint of remote work brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company had planned to use a phased approach to returning to in-person work and began requiring two days of in-person work on May 4.
The next step in this phased approach was to bring employees back to the office three days per week on May 23, specifically requiring in-person work on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Apple has rescheduled this stage.
As first reported by Bloomberg, Apple is still requiring employees to work in-person two days per week, but it will not ramp that up to three days per week on May 23 as originally planned. The company is delaying that requirement indefinitely.
Apple has also increased its masking policies. All employees will be required to use face masks.
The changes to Apple’s plans come as COVID-19 cases have once again started to increase in the United States and other countries. Hospitalizations are also increasing but at a much slower pace, according to data compiled by the New York Times.
Apple has faced criticism for its insistence on requiring in-person work for employees, with the company’s policies being more restrictive than other Silicon Valley companies.
This decision to defer the return of three days per week to in-person work is not likely to disarm that criticism. In fact, it could lead to more criticism based on the fact that Apple has acknowledged an increase in COVID-19 cases, but is still requiring two days per week of in-person work.