Apple's (AAPL 0.68%) call for employees to return to the office a few days a week resulted in the resignation of a high-level executive. In this Motley Fool Live segment from "The Virtual Opportunities Show," recorded on May 10, Fool.com contributors Jose Najarro, Travis Hoium, Rachel Warren, and Demitri Kalogeropoulos discuss what happened at Apple, and what this could mean for the transition remote work in general.
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Jose Najarro: I think there's going to be something very difficult for companies to do. I feel like Apple is a big hardware company. But within the AI market and I'm pretty sure it's also pretty much just software guys and just a lot of coding happening in the back end. But I think for Apple, it's probably easier for them to say, we want everybody to come at least X amount of days and not be able to hey, the software guys you guys are OK to stay full time because then everybody else will start complaining, hey, why do they get preference opposed to us? I think some of this stuff, even if you're able to work from home, companies need to think what's best for just the overall work flow as well.
Travis Hoium: That is going to be a difficult dynamic because you can't make rules for one group of people and not for another. Sorry Rachael.
Rachel Warren: No, you're fine. I think it's interesting as well because I think there's two sides to that coin because on the one hand, you don't want to obviously have preferential treatment given to one team. But there is also this idea and I think perhaps that's where some of this frustration stems from of having a one-size-fits-all approach. Particularly when you have a really massive company like Apple where certain divisions probably could go entirely remote, and others would need to be on that more hybrid approach. I see both sides to that where there's that need to balance the overarching needs of the company. But also where you have maybe certain divisions that just don't have the same need to be having that level of interaction that other teams require. I'm sure that could be potentially another source of frustration. I think it's very much a challenge for a lot of big organizations right now, of whether to have more of a specific team by team approach or an across-the-board approach. I think you're going to have frustration from employees either way.
Travis Hoium: The other thing to note here is this is a pretty high level person at Apple. The rules are not the same for somebody who's at a very high level. If you're leading the AI group at Apple and Tim Cook wants to meet with you because there's something that he wants to discuss and it's like, no, sorry, I'm planning on working evenings tonight. That you can write, that might not work for you or for Apple, and that's why I think it is important to keep in mind that this is a time when work is changing, and not everybody's preference is going to work at every company. We're not in the days where everybody is just going to work 8-5 here in the Midwest. [laughs] These things are changing and it's going to be a push and pull. But I wasn't that alarmed by, it seems like Apple has been pretty lax. Every company around here is at least back to the office in some way, shape or form. General Mills has been back for a year. It seemed a little bit overblown. Maybe you just wanted to leave.
Demitri Kalogeropoulos: Maybe a lot hard to tell, [laughs] probably a lot more going on in that story, but I was thinking about when we talked about last week, the elevated quit rates in the economy as a whole. I guess a lot of people are identifying as part of the reason, I think this article is gaining traction because I think a lot of workers are identifying with that concept. They don't want to go back to work, and a lot of companies are transitioning that way. But I did watch a little bit of the Federal Reserve Chairman Powell's remarks last week after they embrace the rates. He discussed, apparently that's a big factor, that's a big reason why Federal Reserve is getting more active lately as the labor market is just so dislocated, so crazy, people would just quoting, I think it was 4 and 1/2 million in March versus a normal rate, might be like three million in a given month.
We're hearing anecdotally people not staying on their jobs. I saw a recent article about a lot of no-shows like people getting hired, going through all that process of hiring these people and then they just don't even show up for their first day of work. You can't work an economy that way. I understand that's one of the reasons the Fed is getting a little more aggressive. It's just that market is just nuts right now. But I don't know how you fix something like that.