Eva Mrazikova
2 minutes length
Posted: 8th July 2021

Death of the flexible working dream? Apple, Amazon, and Google announce plans

By Eva Mrazikova

Staff at Apple are reportedly not happy over the tech giant’s decision on flexible working, according to recent media reports.

And it offers a fascinating high profile example of what may lie ahead in the post-lockdown world.

What’s the story with Apple?

The Telegraph reported this week: “Apple is locked in a standoff with some of its own employees over returning to the office after the iPhone maker insisted staff work on site three days a week.”

It follows similar articles on the BBC and other sites recently. And Apple is far from the only of the major tech companies in the news on the subject of office returns.

What do other tech giants say?

Google has recently told employees wishing to work from home for more than 14 days they would have to apply to do so and they are also expected to “live within commuting distance” of offices.

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey last year caught the world’s attention by saying his staff can now “work from home forever” – if their roles permitted. But it has since signalled most staff will be hybrid-workers.

Amazon has indicated a policy of office-first. Microsoft has suggested its employees will split their time between home (less than 50%) and the office.

Offices alive and kicking?

This apparent desire to get staff in to the workplace for a significant proportion of the time suggests the death of the office and the rise of the full time home-worker may have been prematurely predicted.

In fact, some may now ask: is the dream of fully flexible working dying off?

What are the benefits and disbenefits?

Of course, there are many pros and cons for the remote office:

Pros

  • Reduced risks of COVID
  • Flexible hours
  • More family time
  • Time and Travel costs savings
  • Accessible from anywhere and anytime
  • Peace and quiet to focus on the work that requires high attention to detail
  • Increased productivity
  • Reaching out to wider group of potential clients
  • Filing in the talent gap – not only recruiting local

Cons

  • Video meetings fatigue
  • Feeling lonely
  • Not being able to switch off properly
  • Working longer hours
  • Brainstorming in a group can be much more difficult – not the traditional whiteboard
  • Poorer collaboration
  • Hard to read signs of someone being depressed or down
  • Cybersecurity risk is higher

Is hybrid the answer?

Though the recent reports seem to pour cold water on the idea of full time working from home for many, they also add weight to the view that a large proportion of workers will split their time between home and office in future.

And perhaps a mix is the best of both worlds?

How can technology help?

If you’d like to understand how you can get your accountancy firm set up for success with a hybrid-working set up, find out how IRIS solutions can help by clicking here.