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Apple Makes It Easy to Work Remotely (Unless You Work for Apple)

The company’s relatively inflexible remote-work policies are inspiring some employees to look elsewhere. 

The Apple Park campus in Cupertino, Calif.

The Apple Park campus in Cupertino, Calif.

Photographer: Sam Hall/Bloomberg

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?