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Apple, Deutsche Bank Set September Deadlines For Return To Offices

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook

The more companies that call their workers back to the office, the more obvious it becomes that the American workplace will never be the same.

Two giants in their respective industries, Apple and Deutsche Bank, announced plans for post-Labor Day returns to in-person work this week, The Verge and Financial Times report. Neither is a full return: Deutsche Bank's directive applies only to its 1,500 U.S. investment bankers, while Apple will only require most employees to be in the office three days per week. Apple employees will also be permitted two weeks of fully remote work per year.

While some of the softening of employers' stances on working from home comes from an increased responsiveness to the needs and concerns of employees, studies and surveys showing that productivity increased last year amid widespread remote work lend confidence in the viability of a long-term hybrid work model, USA Today reports

As Apple CEO Tim Cook said in his letter to employees announcing the company's office return plans, in-person work is still considered crucial by many companies for building culture, fostering collaboration and forging relationships for new hires. Yet an April survey of corporate executives by trade association The Conference Board showed a dramatic increase in openness to hiring workers from outside a company's home market.

Almost 90% of human resources executives surveyed by The Conference Board in April said they would be open to hiring remote workers nationally or internationally in some form, compared to around 50% before the coronavirus pandemic, USA Today reports. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they plan on allowing at least 20% of employees to primarily work from home long after the pandemic dies down.

As companies and employees settle into a long-term reality of increased remote work, there remains a risk that the stresses unique to working from home will cause problems of their own. Attempts by companies to digitally monitor their workers have been met with complaints about overreach and privacy concerns, while 76% of Conference Board survey respondents reported increased burnout among their staff in April, up from 42% during the September edition of the survey.