In an interview yesterday, Tim Cook said that he was mighty impressed by how they were able to launch products on time this year despite the crisis & sudden remoteness. He also said that there will be permanent changes around the way they work given the clear benefits of working virtually.
Here's the video clip (starts at 09:25), if you're interested to watch -
Apple has always been vocal about the benefits of being in-office. And this goes back to 2010 when Steve Jobs was planning their headquarters in Cupertino. Here's an excerpt from his biography by Walter Isaacson -
Over and over he would come up with new concepts, sometimes entirely new shapes, and make them restart and provide more alternatives ... the building was shaped like a huge winding racetrack made of three joined semicircles around a large central courtyard ... "It permits serendipitous and fluid meeting spaces" he said ...
In fact, Jobs had pursued a similar goal in early 2000s when he was the CEO of Pixar - creating an office designed around a central large space to promote unexpected meetings.
The new 'spaceship' campus opened in 2018, which is notoriously expensive btw, is no exception and is built with similar principles in mind. So what happens to this investment if Apple goes remote in future?
Physical presence at the office is irreplaceable 👨💼
Yes, Tim Cook also said this in the same breath. He still strongly believes that chance encounters & brainstorming discussions can only happen in an in-office setting and there's no way it can be replaced.
So it is quite unlikely that we'll see an extreme move from Apple around remote working, if any at all, in future.
Although I distinctly recollect (and subscribe to) Jason Fried's thoughts around serendipitous meetings in a remote setting -
Spontaneity is easy and possible with remote work, if that’s what you value ... Have more casual conversations. But don’t let it happen too often - there’s real work to do.