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Apple tries to return workers to the office with 3-days-per-week policy

Apple Inc. set of Sept. 5 deadline for corporate employees to be in the office at least three days a week, marking its latest return attempt after COVID-19 spikes delayed its plans several times.

The company will require employees to work from the office on Tuesdays, Thursdays and a regular third day that will be determined by individual teams. That is a shift from Apple’s original plan, which called for in-person work on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The company notified employees of the new approach on Monday.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant has been working toward getting its employees back in the office since at least June 2021, when it first announced the three-day policy. But virus flare-ups forced the company to push back deadlines, leaving workers on a two-day-a-week schedule. The new policy will first take effect in Silicon Valley and then spread to other offices.

An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the updated deadline.

Apple has been making other COVID-19 adjustments. The new policy comes weeks after the company dropped its mask mandate in common areas of offices. Apple had removed such a requirement at individual desks several months ago.

The company also held an in-person gathering at its campus in June to watch a developers conference presentation. That was a first since 2019 and signaled that Apple was inching closer to normal operations.

In Santa Clara County, where many of Apple’s main offices are housed, seven-day case averages and daily new COVID case counts have declined from July, but are still much higher than before the Omicron spikes earlier in 2022. Still, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its COVID-19 recommendations last week.

The iPhone maker has been one of the most stringent technology companies when it comes to pushing employees back into the office, irking some staffers, Bloomberg News has reported. Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and others have been more open to remote work in recent months.

It’s a busy time for Apple. The company is gearing up for an event in September to announce the iPhone 14 and new watches. It’s also preparing updated Macs and iPads for launch later this year.

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