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Apple delays recalling staff to offices until October as Delta variant romps across US

Twitter, Salesforce, Google, Microsoft have reopened, kind of

Apple has pushed back the reopening of its offices to October, allowing staff to work from home for an extra month as coronavirus cases increase across the US.

Initially, CEO Tim Cook wanted his techies to return to their iCampuses for three days a week starting from September.

However, infectious variants of the COVID-19 bio-nasty, particularly the Delta variant, spreading across America and other nations right now appear to have driven an uptick in cases, and thus have derailed some return-to-office plans. The variants are such a concern that the San Francisco Bay Area, for instance, recommends people continue wearing their masks indoors in public settings regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not, to curb the rate of infection.

Now Apple appears to be the first tech goliath to cautiously hold off returning to the office until a little later, Bloomberg first reported. Apple was not immediately available for comment.

Elsewhere, other tech giants are letting staff work at the office at lower capacities now, or are waiting until September to reopen.

Employees working in New York City and San Francisco for Twitter are now allowed to return to their desks. The offices are operating at up to 50 per cent capacity for now, according to Reuters. Twitter workers can continue working fully remotely if they wish and if their role allows. Nearly half of SF and two-thirds of NYC Twitter staff indicated they wished to return to the office for one or more days a week, it was reported.

Salesforce is following a similar approach. It opened its main office in San Francisco as well as locations in Palo Alto and Irvine, California, in May. Brent Hyder, the cloud titan's president and chief people officer, said Salesforce offices would be filled from 20 per cent to 75 per cent capacity over time.

“Yet regardless of whether a local office has reopened, we’re now extending the option to all of our employees to continue working from home through at least December 31, 2021,” he said.

Microsoft kickstarted what it called a "soft open," giving staff the opportunity to work in its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, from March. The hybrid model has seen workers choosing to work mostly from home; they go into the office less than 25 per cent of their working time.

Facebook is sticking to reopening some time in the fall. A spokesperson told us last month: “Facebook’s office will be more flexible for those expected to return — guidance is to be in the office at least half the time.

"The company is on track to open most of its US offices at 50 per cent capacity by early September, and likely reopening fully in October. The company has several offices already open in EMEA and APAC, and hopes to open more in those regions at 50 per cent capacity towards the end of 2021."

Googlers in California were given the choice to return to the office earlier this month, we're told. They have been advised to wear a mask at all times, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not. ®

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