Apple wants its store staff to try work-from-home tech support
Brick-and-mortar Apple stores are closed due to social distancing, but the chain is planning for its employees to work from home. The way that the tech giant is moving people into work-from-home roles, however, is not proving popular with all employees.
Apple is asking the employees usually on the sales floor in its stores to reinvent themselves as AppleCare employees, according to Bloomberg. Workers interested in taking on the service and tech support role are asked to take part in a virtual training course, which will occur in the next two weeks. They are required to have a quiet workspace capable of housing a 27-inch, Apple-provided iMac and a strong internet connection.
While some store staff are participating in the redeployment, others expressed concern that they weren’t appropriately set up to perform the new work-from-home role. Some believe being unable or unwilling to take on the new job would reflect poorly on them. Regardless of the employees’ decisions, Apple is continuing to pay full salaries and benefits to store staff displaced by the pandemic.
In the face of store closures, retailers have been forced to make quick, tough decisions about which staff to keep on the payroll and for how long, and how to possibly redeploy staff to work from home.
As many retail chains place employees on unpaid furloughs to wait out the pandemic without paychecks, workers are looking to state unemployment and federal bailout programs.
Especially for larger retailers, however, allowing employees to stay on the payroll for at least part of the duration of the crisis has emerged as an indicator of dedication to social responsibility.
In addition to keeping on store staff with the option of becoming AppleCare support staff, Apple has also committed to continuing to pay its hourly workers for at least the first two weeks of the lockdown, Harvard Business Review reported.
In mid-March, Apple announced the reopening of all 42 of its locations in China, with reduced hours, after a month-long closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Apple Asks Store Workers to Take On Tech Support Roles – Bloomberg
- Coronavirus Is Putting Corporate Social Responsibility to the Test – Harvard Business Review
- All 42 Apple Stores in China are now open – Apple Insider
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of Apple’s method of redeploying and retraining store staff to take on online support roles, and do you expect to see other retailers make similar moves? Do think store associates who choose to participate in Apple’s work-from-home plan will gain a career advantage over those who sit it out?