A long road to get back to work

August 24, 2022 10:46

Alas, it is easy for students to get back to school, but not easy for the young and smart guns to get back to work.

Spare a thought for the human resource people at Apple, the world’s most admirable company which seems to have a little problem getting its staff back to work.

On the eve of launching the world-watching iPhone 14, Chief Executive Tim Cook told his staff to return to the office three days a week because he wanted to preserve the “in-person collaboration that is so essential to our culture” after allowing staff to work from home for more than two years under the global pandemic.

Well, you might think three days a week is not a big deal, but once the gate of Work From Home (WFH) is open, it is hard to close.

A group of Apple staffers, organizing under a newly-formed group known as Apple Together, has put up a campaign demanding for “location flexible work” with six compelling reasons for their protest.

According to the Financial Times, the group counter-proposed the firm to allow them to work with their “immediate manager” to decide their working arrangements, and that they should not be subject to “high-level approvals” and “complex procedures” or have to provide private information.

In concluding what they wanted, they also quoted founder Steve Jobs’ saying “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

It is not the first time Apple wanted its staff to return to work for three days. In April, Apple Together protested the end of the office pilot program, saying they are not asking for everyone to be forced to work from home.

“We are asking to decide for ourselves, together with our teams and direct manager, what kind of work arrangement works best for each one of us, be that in an office, work from home, or a hybrid approach,” they wrote.

Of course, Tim Cook is not Elon Musk, who demanded his Tesla employees must return to the office for in-person work at least 40 hours per week or they'll be let go.

“Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla. This is less than we ask of factory workers,” Musk said.

Hong Kong doesn’t have an Apple or Tesla but there are many young workers who offer spiritual support to Apple Together and secretly pray the WFH culture could stay even longer than the pandemic.

Of course, if it happens so, one would wonder if Swire or other office landlords should tear down their office buildings and turn into luxury homes.

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EJ Insight writer