By Dan Moren
June 30, 2021 3:00 PM PT
The Back Page: Welcome back to Apple Park, where everything is still totally normal
Here at Apple, we are delighted that America’s excellent progress in combatting COVID-19 means that we will this fall be able to welcome our employees back to Apple Park in person.
Face-to-face collaboration has always been key to Apple innovation and creativity, and that’s one significant reason why we created Apple Park in the first place, despite what you might have heard from other, less reputable sources.
As a result, we are encouraging our employees to prepare for a return to the office starting in September, on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Also Saturdays, half days on Sundays, Blursdays, and some holidays. We’re sure you’re as excited as we are to reconnect with old friends and co-workers, catch up on podcasts during your lengthy commute, and generally sit at a desk for hours that you would have once been forced to spend at home, able to share more time and experiences with your loved ones. We’re saving you from that, just as we do by not offering daycare, so you can leave your home at home.
Of course, we’ve accomplished a lot while separated these past eighteen months. We’ve introduced new products, we’ve held two virtual developer conferences, and Craig has very nearly finished construction of a ziggurat made almost entirely out of dry macaroni.
But through all of that, something has been missing: your smiling faces. Joyful. Happy. Like the old Finder icon. Because you are happy. You are smiling. Yes? Right? Aren’t you? There you go. Good. Now just hold that expression. I’ll tell you when you can stop.
We realize that not all of our employees are ready to make the transition back to the office, which is why we’ll make the process as easy as possible. Because at Apple, we’re not about rigidly adhering to a dogmatic approach set out by a former leader more than two decades ago—we’re about adaptability. Flexibility. So to ease back our employees, we’ve created something we call a hybrid workspace. In simple terms, we’ve built replicas of each and every one of your work-from-home spaces right within Apple Park to make you feel right, well, at home. (It’s not like we spent all that money on that virtual house set to show off smart home tech, right?)
And for those who still worry about adjusting to life back at work, we’re going the extra mile. By deploying one of our elite Human Resources teams to enter your home at night (thanks, HomeKit smart keys!) while you sleep (tracked via your Apple Watch, naturally), tranquilize you, and transport you to your replica office, so that you wake up refreshed and ready to work a full eighty-hour week from the comfort of your own “home.” This is how much the health and wellness of our employees means to us.
Most of all, it’s important that we remember why returning to in-person work is so important to Apple. It’s not just because you cannot replicate over WebEx those serendipitous moments that spark pure unbridled creativity. Nor because we want to foster a sense of community between all our employees that makes our products stronger. It’s not even to appease the dread god Glog-Raggopth, long may they reign, by stocking the larder that is Apple Park with fresh souls for their consumption.
It’s because we spent five billion dollars building this gigantic donut of a campus, and it wasn’t so Phil and Eddy could race laps through the office in their Ferraris.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]