• Apple is urging its employees to work from home
  • This is amid a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
  • The shift to remote work will help Apple provide better services to its customers

Apple is urging its employees to work from home in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

In a company memo (seen by Bloomberg), Apple retail and people head Deirdre O'Brien urged employees to work from home amid the current pandemic. The chief said the company will be sending COVID-19 test kits directly to them so they can be tested for the virus while staying in the relative safety of their homes.

O'Brien indicated that by working from home, Apple's employees will be able to continue attending to the needs of their customers, who are "really dependent upon their devices, especially right now."

"If your store is closed, please sign up for Retail at Home, please talk to your manager, because we really need to make sure that we shift our teams to greet our customers remotely in this time," O'Brien said in the memo.

The Apple exec said that by choosing to work from home, the company employees will be able to minimize the "significant wait times" that customers have to face due to an increase in the number of services and products that are being purchased online.

"This is not the experience that we want to have for our customers," O'Brien said, referring to the wait times.

Office work

Apple's office employees were also told in a memo that a full return to office work will not happen by the end of the year. This applies to all office-based employees in all of the company's locations across the U.S.

The latest memo, however, indicated that the company will "begin to welcome back" team members whose tasks require them to work in the office, as well as those who prefer to work in the office instead of their homes. The company, however, will limit the number of people who will be allowed to occupy its offices at any given time.

Stores remain closed

Apple's decision to urge employees to work from home also comes amid recent store closures due to the uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country.

"We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible," a company spokesperson said last month regarding the closures.

Apple had begun reopening its US stores but is now closing some in areas where coronavirus infections are on the rise
Apple retail store AFP / SAUL LOEB