Apple will once again try to get employees back to work in the office. The company has set an April 11th deadline for corporate employees to return to in-person work after myriad delays due to the company’s COVID-19 response.
Apple Park in Cupertino, California
Mark Gurman for Bloomberg News:
Employees will be required to work from the office at least one day per week by that date, according to a memo sent by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook on Friday. By three weeks after April 11, employees will be expected in the office twice per week. And on May 23, employees will need to be in the office at least three days a week — on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“For many of you, I know that returning to the office represents a long-awaited milestone and a positive sign that we can engage more fully with the colleagues who play such an important role in our lives,” Cook said. “For others, it may also be an unsettling change.”
Technovanguard Take: Yeah, having people around to see if you’re actually working might be “unsettling” to those who haven’t done much of that for two years even if it’s initially just for one day, then two, then eventually three whole days per week.
Apple had previously postponed September, October, January and February deadlines before ultimately scrapping its return plans indefinitely in December.
“In the coming weeks and months, we have an opportunity to combine the best of what we have learned about working remotely with the irreplaceable benefits of in-person collaboration,” Cook said in the memo… Masks will become optional at most U.S. sites in the coming weeks, Cook said Friday.
Technovanguard Take: Hopefully this deadline – however weak and tentative it may be – actually occurs.
As we’ve written many times before throughout these endless return-to-work delays:
At some point, some Apple employee, likely someone older who unfortunately has multiple comorbidities — maybe who smokes, has asthma, is overweight, or has other risk factors — is very likely going to contract COVID-19 and die. Some lawyer will be enlisted to try to sue Apple over it. This sad scenario is virtually unavoidable. Return-to-work delays atop return-to-work delays were simply kicking the unavoidable down the road; a waste of time.
In general, human-transmissible coronaviruses do not disappear. There is no such thing as zero-COVID.
COVID-19 is here to stay. It will very likely become endemic, yet pose less danger over time. People will acquire immunity via vaccines (effectiveness TDB) and naturally as they contract and recover from variants like omicron since the partially-effective vaccines permit not only transmissibility, but also breakthrough infections. Influenza and the four human coronaviruses that cause common colds (OC43, 229E, NL63 and HKU1) are, of course, also endemic, but a combination of annual flu vaccines and acquired immunity means that sane societies tolerate the unavoidable seasonal deaths and illnesses they bring without requiring lockdowns, masks, social distancing, indefinite return-to-work delays, etc.
At which point, if ever, will some people decide that wasting away their short lives in abject fear of a bad flu (that’s now mutated into a bad cold, if that), very likely engineered by China and partially funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, is an hysterical self-defeating overreaction?
Adam Gopnik was writing about a different “disaster,” but, going on two years worth of “two weeks to slow the spread,” his words from August 2011 are a rather interesting read in early 2022 and something to bear in mind as you consume “news” media:
[T]he relentless note of incipient hysteria, the invitation to panic, the ungrounded scenarios — the overwhelming and underlying desire for something truly terrible to happen so that you could have something really hot to talk about — was still startling. We call disasters unimaginable, but all we do is imagine such things…
That, you could conclude mordantly, is the real soundtrack of our time: the amplification of the self-evident toward the creation of paralyzing, preemptive paranoia. The real purpose not to get you to do anything, but to get you so scared that all you can do is keep the television, or radio, on. This is obvious, and yet there is something truly helpful, really instructive, about experiencing it again after a month of absence and silence. Two things that ought to be apparent all the time become briefly clear to you again. First, that the media, television particularly, are amplifying devices in which tiny kernels of information become vast, terrifying structures of speculation. The news business is one in which a minimum of news is really given the business.
And second, that the reasons for this are essentially non-ideological; frightened people need news for reassurance, and want to get a more heightened experience by being frightened still more, and the business the people supplying the fright are in (which we’re in too, of course) is not really that of dispensing information but of assembling enough listeners or readers, preferably still caught in that same spirit of credulous attentiveness, to offer to advertisers or keep subscribing. — Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, August 28, 2011
As we wrote way back at the start on March 9, 2020: The real virus is the panic.
Near-perfect prescience is our cross to bear.
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