Apple, which was set to bring U.S. corporate workers back to the office starting in February, has informed employees of a new plan: The February return will be delayed for an unknown amount of time.
The company initially instituted a work-from-home policy in March 2020, when the pandemic was just getting started. While a minority of corporate workers have gone back to the office, most have not.
Apple CEO Tim Cook sent out a memo outlining a few details related to the delay.
The company will give each employee a $1,000 bonus to upgrade their remote workspace. Employees will also receive one-month advance notice before the eventual return to in-person work.
Rising COVID-19 rates combined with the appearance of the Omicron variant are making business leaders skittish about rushing back to the office.
Nonetheless, most Apple stores in the U.S. are open. Despite corporate employees working at home, the company has been successful during the pandemic.
So far, Apple’s net income in the 2021 fiscal year is $94.68 billion. That’s the highest yearly net income the company has ever recorded.
Three Apple stores closed temporarily this week because of rising COVID-19 rates. Customers must wear masks in all open U.S. Apple stores, and regular at-home tests are available for all retail workers.
Other tech giants, like Amazon and Google, have also delayed returns to the office.
Though these delays are primarily motivated by concern over the coronavirus, many employees have grown to prefer working from home. Remote work offers flexibility while cutting commute time.