Apple executives today held a virtual company-wide meeting to address concerns about work-from-home arrangements and to offer a timeframe on when employees might expect to return to their jobs in corporate offices and in retail stores.
Bloomberg shared some details about the meeting. Apple employees that attended the virtual meeting said that Company CEO Tim Cook called the pandemic an “uncertain and stressful moment,” but told the virtual assembly that Apple would recover from, as it did following the 2008 recession and following a near-bankruptcy in the late 1990s.
Cook said the company began the year with a strong balance sheet and that it will
continue investing “in a really significant way” in research and development and future products.
If we stay focused on doing what we do best, if we keep investing, if we manage the business wisely and make decisions collaboratively, if we take care of our teams, if our teams take care of their work, I don’t see any reason to be anything but optimistic.
When asked about possible job cuts, Cook again stressed Apple’s strong financial position and pointed out that it has continued paying retail employees while retail locations are shuttered. “I won’t tell you Apple won’t be impacted,” Cook said while stressing that his focus is on running the company for the long-term rather than for the short-term.
Cook reminded employees that Apple had launched the new iPad Pro and MacBook Air models, as well as the iPhone SE as evidence that Apple’s product launches are not being disrupted.
Cook couldn’t tell employees when they might be able to return to their workplaces but did inform them that the company will likely begin measures such as temperature checks and social distancing when they do return to work.
Apple is planning to re-open its single store in South Korea this weekend, while Apple retail staff have recently begun online training and virtual meetings ahead of possible store re-openings. However, U.S. stores will not likely re-open until May at the earliest and will open their doors on a staggered basis according to local conditions and guidelines.
Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams also spoke, saying the health crisis has increased the importance of Apple’s work on health-related products such as the Apple Watch. Williams said more governments are now working with Apple to bring the Watch’s ECG feature to new countries.