Apple has pushed back plans to return to the office for at least a month in response to the recent surge in coronavirus cases, which has been fueled by the spread of the virus. Delta variant.

The company told employees on Monday that they would now have to return to the office as early as October 1 instead of early September. The company said the date could be further shifted depending on the spread of the virus and that it would give employees at least a month’s notice before they return, according to an email from Apple to employees, which has consulted by The New York Times.

“As the situation continues to evolve, we are committed to taking the same measured approach that we have taken from the start,” the email said.

Some employees, like those who make hardware, have already returned to Apple’s offices. At the start of the pandemic, Apple closed several of its retail stores, but these have since reopened. Apple’s return-to-work policies apply to all of its offices, including those in California, Texas, and New York.

Apple declined to comment further. The company had 147,000 full-time employees in September. Bloomberg reported earlier the date of return to the office modified.

Like many companies, Apple has delayed the return date of its employees several times, but it is one of the first large companies to respond to the spread of the Delta variant.

Throughout the pandemic, Silicon Valley has been at the forefront of the remote work trend, with tech companies like Twitter and Facebook among the first to order their employees to work from home in early 2020. Many tech companies have also finally decided to do remote work. permanent.

But Apple has been more reluctant to lose its in-person office culture, which has caused friction among employees who want to continue working from home. An internal Slack channel called “Remote Work Advocates” has grown to about 6,500 employees, up from about 1,800 in June, according to Cher Scarlett, an Apple security engineer who helped write letters to the group’s management.

In June, about 1,800 workers signed a letter to Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, claiming that forcing employees to return to the office would result in some people leaving the company. On Monday, some employees of the Slack group posted a second letter to send to management that proposed more flexible remote working arrangements. Tech news sites The Verge and Recode previously reported on the letters.

“Basically everyone wanted to feel heard and to have more transparency and flexibility, as we see in other companies the size of Apple,” Ms. Scarlett said.

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