Last month, Apple published a promotional video titled Escape From the Office. The heroes of the almost 9-minute ad are a group of employees at a fictional company called ARCA who respond to the requirement that they return to a physical office by quitting and launching their own startup. Using Apple’s iPads, MacBook Pros, and software, they then build their own office-less business.
A week before its tribute to remote work, Apple Inc. gave its own workers a timeline by which they’d have to return to their offices. To some, including the 7,500 of Apple’s 165,000 employees who belong to a Slack room dedicated to advocating for remote work, it was bruising. “They are trolling us, right?” one wrote. Others called the ad “distasteful” and “insulting.” The underlying message: Apple knows corporate employees—using its products as tools—can capably work from home. So why can’t its own staff?