Tim Cook

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  • Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, says that the success of remote working during the pandemic means the tech giant will not "return to the way we were."
  • Some aspects of virtual working are here to stay, he said, without being specific.
  • But Cook also stressed the limitations of remote working, such as not having impromptu meetings with colleagues. He cannot wait to return to the office, he said.
  • He hopes most employees will be back in the office by the end of 2020, he added.
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Apple's CEO Tim Cook said Monday that some of the tech giant's new working-from-home habits are here to stay forever.

During the pandemic, the company has found "there are some things that actually work really well virtually," he said in an interview at The Atlantic Festival on Monday. This means Apple will not "return to the way we were." 

He didn't specify what had worked well or how the company would change, but pointed out that it had unveiled the new Apple Watch Series 6 and new iPads while between 85% to 90% of its workforce were at home.

However, Cook said that remote working is "not like being together physically." Employees can't run into each other in the corridor, for example, which hampers creativity. He hopes that the majority of his employees can be back in their offices — including Apple's $5 billion "spaceship" headquarters in California — by next year, he added.

Cook's comments contrast with those of Netflix founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings, who told The Wall Street Journal on September 7 that remote working is a "pure negative." Hastings also said that employees will be able to return to the office once "a majority of people" have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Last week, Facebook announced that it is searching for a director of remote work. Google announced in July that it is asking employees to continue working remotely until summer 2021 — whereas Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey told employees in an email in May that they could work from home indefinitely, even after COVID-19 lockdowns end. 

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