Apple, which closed all 458 non-China stores indefinitely, is asking store workers to temporarily take on tech support roles so the Cupertino firm has enough workers to handle customer requests. While the program is not mandatory, a portion of retail staff is participating to become work-from-home AppleCare employees.
Although Apple promised to pay employees while they are not working, some workers informed Bloomberg that they were being urged by their managers to participate in the program. Some retail workers were sent forms to sign up while those who don't wish to are being asked to state the reason behind their choice. Deirdre O’Brien, Retail Chief at Apple, said in a video message on Friday that the effort "has been going great."
Regardless of participation in the program, all retail workers are being paid their full salaries and benefits, Apple has confirmed. Moreover, the employees participating in the program are not being asked to work beyond their regular hours. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all of the corporate employees, including engineers, have switched to working from home. Resultantly, the company has faced several product delays, as it adjusts in time of crisis.
Employees participating in the program are required to have a quiet workspace with room for a 27-inch iMac, which the firm will provide, a strong internet connection, and participation in a visual training exercise to be held within the next two weeks. O'Brien informed workers that the opening of Apple stores would be dependent on local conditions. The firm plans to bring operations back to normal as early as the first half of April.