Apple is encouraging retail staff to work from home to support customers, as over 90 stores across the U.S. have been forced to reclose due to COVID-19 spikes. The company is also sending COVID-19 testing kits to staff in the mail. While a small number of office staff have returned, the company appears pessimistic about a full return to American offices this year (via Bloomberg News).

Staff working in an Apple Store

In a video sent to staff over the weekend, senior vice president of retail and people Deirdre O’Brien said:

If your store is closed, please sign up for Retail at Home, please talk to your manager, because we really need to make sure that we shift our teams to greet our customers remotely in this time. We may need to be working remotely for some period of time.

“This is not the experience that we want to have for our customers,” Ms. O’Brien added. “So we really want to make sure that we are moving to where our customers are, to help them during this very challenging time. As you know people are really dependent upon their devices, especially right now.”

Furthermore, in a memo sent last month, Apple downplayed the chance of a full return to the office in 2020. It said that the leadership “currently do not anticipate a full return before the end of the year” to offices in the Americas. However, the company “anticipates full resumption will take place over the coming months based on local conditions” at “many” offices in both Europe and Asia-Pacific regions. It is also understood staff are receiving test COVID-19 test kits in the mail from the company that they can send on to testing centers.

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