In a company-wide memo to workers, the boss wrote: “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.”
The missive, seen by The Verge, adds that teams requiring “in-person” work will return for four to five days a week.
He added: “Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate.”
Staff will be asked to come to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the option for remote working on Wednesdays and Fridays.
The letter added that remote working can take place for up to two weeks a year for staff to be “closer to family and loved ones, find a change of scenery, manage unexpected travel, or a different reason all your own”.
Mr Cook’s position is at odds with other tech rivals, with Facebook and Twitter announcing employees could work from home permanently if they wanted, although Google also recently announced plans for staff to return to US offices.
In the UK, companies are adopting a more flexible approach.
Corporate giants including British Gas owner Centrica, outsourcer Capita and lenders Santander and NatWest Group have confirmed they will move their workforces to a combination of office and remote working.
Public sector bodies including the Bank of England and HMRC are also consulting on work from home arrangements.
A recent survey of 2,000 office workers and 500 business leaders by Survation for flexible office business Orega found 53% of staff plan to work in a hybrid model between work and home.
Around 28% of workers plan to work five days a week in the office, compared with 72% before the pandemic, and 17% plan to work remotely full time.