Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly told most of his employees not to expect to return to the office until next summer, placing the company in line with similar schedules from Facebook, Google, and others.
On Thursday, Cook told staff during an all-hands call that it's unlikely they'll be returning until at least June 2021, according to Bloomberg News.
Cook reportedly said: "There's no replacement for face-to-face collaboration, but we have also learned a great deal about how we can get our work done outside of the office without sacrificing productivity or results. All of these learnings are important. When we're on the other side of this pandemic, we will preserve everything that is great about Apple while incorporating the best of our transformations this year."
Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
-19 pandemic forced employees around the world to stay away from offices this year, and some in Silicon Valley have questioned whether they'll go back at all. Facebook has told some employees that they can permanently work from home, although others are expected to return to Menlo Park in July 2021. Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly told employees over the summer that most wouldn't be back in the office until June 2021.
The pandemic has created new obstacles for Apple, in particular, because the tech giant's supply chain is spread across the world, with much of its manufacturing taking place in China, Dan Riccio, svp of hardware engineering, reportedly told staff on Thursday.
He said engineers usually go to China each fall, as manufacturers begin new projects for Apple. But, this year, they've remained in California. So they're using remote-controlled robots to help manufacturers in China, according to Bloomberg.
As infections surged in California, millions of residents returned to restrictive lockdowns on Sunday. In the Bay Area, most were asked not to leave their houses aside from gathering essentials, like food.
In a partnership with state officials, Apple and Google earlier this week launched a COVID
-19 tracking app in California. Govenor Gavin Newsom said the CA Notify app will send people push notifications if they may have been exposed to the virus based on their location.