Apple Employees Find Working From Home Difficult Due to Secret Projects

Mar 16, 2020
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Apple employees are reportedly finding it difficult to work from home, due to the highly secret nature of the company's projects.

Although remote work is not unheard of in Silicon Valley, the scale at which it is being implemented due to COVID-19 is unprecedented, and this is surfacing a number of unique challenges.

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Secrecy around Apple's future products has been making it a painful experience for the company's employees to work remotely. As per WSJ, many of the employees have to deal with slow network connectivity and new rules regarding system access, which means that work suffers.

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.

These roadblocks mean that many employees still have to go to the office to work on projects which require top-most security. Usually, this is the case with all projects at Apple.

Though Apple has encouraged staff to stay away from the office for health reasons, many engineers say they continue to come into headquarters, heeding company policy that forbids unreleased products from being removed from campus. The company has loosened some security restrictions but maintains them on any software that might reveal the nature of off-limits projects, staffers say.

Apple has implemented health screenings for employees who still have to visit the campus. The number of employees is far fewer than what it would be in normal circumstances, which helps in maintaining social distancing.

Google is also facing its share of challenges with employees who are working from home. Employees have been requesting equipment such as monitors and cables to ensure they can get work done smoothly from home.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google was overrun with requests after it told its 119,000 employees to put in for “work from home” kits of monitors, cables and other technological must-haves, employees say. Facing a backlog and no certain date of delivery, many San Francisco employees came in over the weekend, despite requests from Google to avoid doing so, and hauled home desktop equipment and personal effects like family photos back with them.

Apple has already shut down all its retail stores outside of Greater China until 27 March. However, customers can still purchase products and accessories from Apple's online store. The company also announced that WWDC 2020 will be an online-only event. Meanwhile, Google canceled its Google I/O 2020 event, and has not announced a virtual event yet.

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