Apple's Tim Cook reportedly asks employees to return to office in September

Apple CEO says the company is missing face-to-face interaction, according to an email obtained by The Verge.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook is reportedly tired of video calls.

James Martin/CNET

Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly would like to see Apple employees' faces back in the office beginning when summer ends. Cook would like employees to return to the office three days a week starting in early September, according to a Cook email to employees obtained by The Verge.

"For all that we've been able to achieve while many of us have been separated, the truth is that there has been something essential missing from this past year: each other," he wrote in the email, sent Wednesday morning. "Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate."

The company's offices have largely sat empty for the past year, its employees are working remotely, as businesses all over the world shuttered facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But as the number of deaths and new cases continues to decline in the US, many businesses are making plans to return to pre-pandemic office activity.

The change shouldn't come as a surprise to Apple employees. In December, Cook assured employees they wouldn't be expected to return to the office until this month, reasoning that there's "no replacement for face-to-face collaboration," according to a Bloomberg report.

Cook's memo outlined a scenario in which most employees would be asked to go to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the option of working remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays. Teams that require in-person work will return to the office for four to five days a week, The Verge reported.

The plan appears to resemble one put forth in December by Google CEO Sundar Pichai. His plan outlined a hybrid work model, with employees typically coming into the office three days a week. In May, Pichai told employees in a memo that he expects 20% of the company to permanently work remotely.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the social-networking giant will allow some employees to work from home permanently, and Twitter made a similar announcement.

Apple employees would also have the option of working entirely remotely for up to two weeks each year, but that arrangement would have to be approved by managers.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment or verification of the email.