Apple's Return to Office is a Return to Burnout and Resentment

I read this today on 9to5Mac and my blood started to boil:

Earlier this month, Apple had employees return to work at the corporate office in a hybrid format. The process has been gradual. They’re currently in the office one day per week, but according to company policy, by May 23 employees will need to be in office at least three days per week.

However, some employees have not warmed up to the idea of returning to the office.

And why would they? The last two years have shown that employees are tired of:

  • Long commutes
  • Expensive gas prices
  • Cube farms and open concept layouts
  • Not seeing their families
  • Not having downtime

Obviously, some roles require an in-house component. If you’re designing the casing for the next iPad or the chip going into the next iPhone, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible to do all of that remotely. And there are those who actually enjoy working in an office each day. They like having that clear separation of work life and home life that comes with a commute and change of scenery.

But your average marketer? HR rep? Financial analyst? Why is it important for them to shlep into the office, sit in traffic, and risk their health when they’ve shown they can be just as productive from the comforts of their own homes? Return to office should not be mandatory. It should be an option.

What makes this worse is Apple’s recent “Underdogs” ad campaign that touts how people can use Apple’s technology to run an entire business without the need for office space. The hypocrisy is palpable.

And let’s not forget what everyone brings up when they talk about why “return to office” is so important. “Oh, it’s about collaboration! We have such a great office culture!” What “office culture?” Fluorescent lighting and no privacy? A pizza party in lieu of a proper raise?

Let’s not mince words when it comes to discussing the return to the office and what it’s really about: capitalism. The banks have threatened to devalue office properties if the companies leasing them don’t use them. Apple spent billions on a brand new campus and it’ll be damned if people aren’t going to walk its sterile, glass hallways each day.

I, for one, hope “the great resignation” continues. If a progressive, high tech company like Apple can’t get with the times, then they don’t deserve the talent they have. That talent will go where they can do their jobs just as productively as they have been for the last two years while wearing pajamas.