The coronavirus outbreak saw Apple curtail employee visits to China for a time, but now that the company wants to encourage staff to resume business trips to the country, it’s facing one very specific problem…
The Information notes that US visitors to China have to self-isolate on arrival, and that provides two disincentives. First, the quarantine period means that employees have to be away from home for longer than usual. Second, the conditions in which they need to isolate are significantly poorer than the 4- and 5-star hotels normally enjoyed by Apple execs.
Taking a trip to China now, while the pandemic rages in the US, requires Apple’s US staff to give up some comforts. To prevent new infections, the Chinese government requires most visitors flying into the country to travel directly to a quarantine hotel, where they can’t make excursions, get restaurant delivery, housekeeping, or laundry service.
Apple staff traveling to Shanghai wait out the stay at a budget hotel, eating Irish lamb stew and stir-fried noodles catered by China Eastern Airlines and washing their clothes in the bathtub, say employees with knowledge of the arrangements.
Apple has declared the visits voluntary for these reasons, but is keen to encourage employees to agree — and offering tempting incentives.
When global travel froze early this year, Apple’s US staff worked out alternatives to visiting factory floors, such as putting some US staff on a night shift to overlap with China’s workday. They also leaned more heavily on Apple’s employees in China, where there are roughly 2,400 people employed at its procurement and operations subsidiaries, according to a review of Apple’s Chinese corporate filings.
Those arrangements weren’t as effective as visiting factories to verify production processes and build relationships with manufacturing partners such as Foxconn Technology, say employees […]
To make the visits more palatable, Apple has started to offer a daily bonus of up to $500 that can add up to an extra $21,000 if an employee stays for at least six weeks — the minimum Apple now requires for these trips.
Photo: Freeman Zhou/Unsplash
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