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It’s Not Just Apple Employees: Why Workers Need Remote Flexibility

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  • It’s Not Just Apple Employees: Why Workers Need Remote Flexibility

    Lower wages, long Covid caution, and a tight labor market all spur employees to band together against in-office mandates.

    August 23rd 2022 8:58 pm

    Adam Rowe

    Starting September 5, Apple will be requiring employees to work in-person at its Santa Clara Valley offices for at least three days a week. They're not happy about it.

    Employee advocacy group Apple Together has launched a petition to push for retaining the remote work flexibility options that Apple was forced to introduce at the start of the Covid pandemic in 2020.

    It's just the latest in a wave of big employers who hope to mandate more in-office work, from Tesla to Google. We reached out to tech workers themselves to better understand the issue.

    ... Vaccinations have reduced the odds of dying from catching Covid, but as precautions have been dropped, US cases have risen significantly: In May, they had quadrupled since the same month a year earlier.

    That's not much of a comfort for anyone concerned about Long Covid, a condition that the CDC found affects 20% of those who recover from even a mild SARS-CoV-2 infection, although another meta-analysis found it to be closer to 50%.

    Ironically, anyone who winds up with any of the more than 200 symptoms that Long Covid can leave — from brain fog and headaches to kidney failure, blood clots and heart attacks — will find that any increased flexibility from their employers will be more needed than ever.

    ... There's evidence that pushback from groups like Apple Together is having the desired impact: Apple originally wanted everything working in-person across all Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, but have caved just a little and are now only pushing for Tuesdays and Thursdays in the office, along with a floating third in-person weekday that will be determined on an employee-by-employee basis.

    Long Covid is defined by life-altering disabilities including psychiatric disorders and cognitive issues — making it one big reason why employees should be invested in figuring out what leverage they truly have.