As part of Apple’s effort to fully reopen offices, the company will rely on testing employees for COVID-19 multiple times per week, Bloomberg reports. The decision to use COVID testing as a tool for in-person work environments runs in contrast to other tech companies including Google and Facebook.
Bloomberg reports that Apple will test staff for COVID-19 twice a week to start. In the future, COVID testing will increase to three times per week as part of the effort:
Apple Inc., confronting the rapid spread of Covid-19’s delta variant, will increase testing of both corporate and retail employees and has reversed course on rebooting in-store classes in the U.S. this month.
This week, the iPhone maker informed staff participating in the company’s at-home testing program with Quest Diagnostics Inc. that they will now receive testing kits twice per week instead of weekly. The company told employees in the program that they are expected to get tested on Mondays and Thursdays.
While Apple stands out among major tech giants who require proof of vaccination to return to work, the corporation also has more personnel than what makes up corporate offices. Apple retail stores and the challenge of requiring vaccinations for this vast portion of the company could prove harder than a requirement for employees at headquarters, although that’s just my guess.
Tim Cook spoke last month about his thinking about vaccination requirements for returning to work:
Following the breaking news that Google will require employees returning to its offices in October to get the COVID vaccine, Tim Cook has shared that the company is continuing to “monitor things daily” before deciding if that’s “the right answer or not.” […]
“Apple encourages everyone who is eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, to take it,” the company wrote to retail employees. “Please talk to your doctor and decide what’s right for you.”
Bloomberg adds that an internal decision to restart Today at Apple courses in retail stores in masse by the end of the month has also been reconsidered. Apple re-opened all retail stores in June, although mask requirements have been necessary again with the spread of more COVID-19 variants.
As for staff at Apple Park and other offices, Cook’s Apple will rely on a hybrid remote work strategy that requires in-person office hours three days per week with two optional remote work days. This watered down approach to remote work hasn’t been universally welcomed by the employees affected by the strategy.
Apple currently plans to fully reopen its offices for in-person work as soon as October, although the nature of COVID-19 variants and vaccination adoption means that could change at any time.