Apple has now, for the fourth time, had to adjust its return-to-office plans. Workers were slated to begin a hybrid schedule in February, though the rapid spread of the Omicron variant has thrown a wrench in those contentious plans.
Over the course of the pandemic, Apple has repeatedly attempted to set guidance for when in-person work would begin again. The initial target of September 2021 was been received poorly by some employees who formed a "remote work advocates" Slack channel and circulated a letter critical of the policy proposal. The Delta variant necessitated further delays, which were targeted to January, and then February of 2022.
The rapid transmissibility of Omicron has brought back mask mandates for Apple stores around the country this week. Three retail locations in Annapolis, Ottawa and Miami were also closed after outbreaks of the virus.
Lyft, Uber and Google parent Alphabet have also pushed back their office returns, with the latter two, like Apple, setting no new target date. It's nearly certain that other companies with the option of remote work will follow suit in the coming days and weeks.