Apple delays return to office to at least January 2022

New timeline means it will have been two years since Apple staff have been required at the office.

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(Connie Guglielmo/CNET)

With the delta variant of Covid-19 running rampant worldwide, Apple has decided to defer a return to corporate offices from October until January 2022 at the earliest. 

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Bloomberg reports that Apple sent a memo to staff on Thursday advising them of the new timetable, which has shifted from early September to October, and now to January 2022.

Apple's plan, once workers are required to return to offices, demands that employees are present at the office Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, according to Bloomberg. Remote work will be permitted on Wednesday and Friday.

The memo from Deirdre O'Brien, Apple's head of retail and people, urged employees to get vaccinated -- however, vaccination and testing are not currently mandatory. 

Due to changing conditions, Apple currently plans to inform staff one month before it will require them to return to the office.

Facebook earlier this month also delayed the reopening of offices until January 2022 for the same reasons as Apple.

But the social networking giant has required staff coming to work at its US offices to be vaccinated, and ordered all employees in the office to wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status.     

"Given the recent health data showing rising Covid cases based on the Delta variant, our teams in the US will not be required to go back to the office until January 2022," a Facebook spokesperson said. 

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Facebook, which has 48,000 employees worldwide, also expects similar delays in office attendance for some countries outside the US, the spokesperson said. 

Apple's move brings it in line with other tech giants' recently adjusted plans in response to the Delta variant of Covid-19.  

Amazon this month said it expects employees in the US and other countries to come in on January 3, 2022, regularly. 

Microsoft, which has over 180,000 employees worldwide, has pushed back the earliest date for the full opening of its US worksites to October 4.

Google in July said it will require all its 135,000 employees worldwide to be vaccinated before returning to the office. It has also extended its voluntary work-from-home policy through late October.