With COVID-19 coronavirus outbreaks spiking once again across the United States, Apple is working to find work from home roles for its retail staff and is now expecting corporate employees to not make a full return to Apple campuses in 2020.
A report from Bloomberg says with the re-shuttering of numerous retail locations in the U.S. Apple is now asking retail employees to work remotely from home in support roles that the company has been offering since March.
The retail employees act as support advisors to handle service requests and support questions from customers unable to obtain those services in-store. The move is not mandatory and Apple has continued to pay employees either way. However, Apple is urging retail personnel to participate in the work from home program, as the need for customer support representatives has grown.
“If your store is closed, please sign up for Retail at Home, please talk to your manager, because we really need to make sure that we shift our teams to greet our customers remotely in this time,” O’Brien told staff in the video. “We may need to be working remotely for some period of time.”
“This is not the experience that we want to have for our customers,” O’Brien added. “So we really want to make sure that we are moving to where our customers are, to help them during this very challenging time. As you know people are really dependent upon their devices, especially right now.”
Retail employees that are still able to return to work are required to wear masks, with Apple providing name tag lanyards that have customized Memoji characters to help retail staff be recognized while wearing masks.
As for Apple’s corporate campuses, Apple told employees in a memo that it doesn’t expect U.S. office employees to be able to return to campuses before the end of the year. However, employees in Apple European and Asian complexes are expected to be able to return to campuses in the coming months.
Some employees have returned to Apple’s Silicon Valley campuses. Those employees have been offered optional coronavirus testing, with Apple also providing test kits to both its retail and corporate staff at home.
The number of Apple employees allowed in buildings and specific work areas is limited, and masks and temperature checks are required.