Apple Employees Struggling to Work from Home Due to the Company’s Tight Secrecy Rules

Over the weekend, Apple announced that it was shutting down all its retail stores outside of China due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It also announced that all its employees outside of China could work from home if their work permitted them to do so. A WSJ report has detailed the issues that some Apple employees are facing while working from home due to the company’s secrecy culture.

A number of employees have complained about confusing internal rules that are still evolving. Others are complaining about slow download speeds and the strict security policies preventing them from accessing important data on internal systems at the company.

In recent days, software developers sent home by Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook have complained of slow download speeds and mounting confusion over still-evolving new internal rules about what work they are allowed to perform, staffers say. Some workers can’t access crucial internal systems from home due to strict security policies meant to fend off outsiders—which now includes off-site employees.

Many engineers have continued to visit and work at Apple’s headquarters as unreleased products are not allowed to leave the campus. This is despite Apple losing the restrictions.

Apple employees are not the only ones suffering from these issues though. Google and Facebook are also struggling to handle almost all their employees working from home and managing their requests and coming up with the appropriate rules.

While all these tech giants have appropriate systems and technology in place for their employees to work from home, it has not been tested on such a massive scale before. There are going to be issues and bottlenecks and these companies will have to solve them on the go.

How Apple has responded to the coronavirus outbreak so far

On March 13, Apple announced that they will be matching their employee donations two-to-one to support COVID-19 response efforts locally, nationally and internationally. Back in January, Apple had announced that it will donate to coronavirus relief efforts in China. Donations have reached $15 million worldwide so far.

On March 13, Apple announced that it is closing all retail stores outside of China until March 27th.

On March 12, Apple announced that it will hold one of its biggest event of the year, WWDC 2020, only online. It has also pledged to donate $1 million to local San Jose organizations to offset the associated revenue loss as a result of ‌WWDC 2020‌’s online format.

On March 9, Apple has updated the support article to clarify that it is okay to use disinfecting wipes to clean its products.

On March 6, Apple also pledged that it will continue to pay its hourly workers. It will also provide unlimited paid leave to hourly employees, including those at its retail stores, who become sick with cold or flu symptoms similar to COVID-19.

On February 17, Apple announced that it did not expect to meet the revenue guidance we provided for the March quarter due to COVID-19 outbreak.

[Via WSJ]