Apple giving select employees two weeks off to work on special projects

Tim Cook has ushered in a number of changes to Apple in his first year as the CEO. He’s instituted an employee donation program, and a few weeks ago he spearheaded one of the biggest management shakeups in the company’s history.

And this afternoon, we can add another alteration to the list. According to a new report, Cook has signed off on a new program, code-named “Blue Sky,” that gives select employees up to two weeks to work on special side projects…

The Wall Street Journal (via BusinessInsider):

“Basically there’s been a lot of change at Apple. And the company has been taking steps, not just in response to the past couple of weeks, but over several months, to really try to make Apple a better place to work.

There’s initiative that the company announced earlier this year called “blue sky.” It’s limited to a small group of employees, and the idea is that they can take two weeks or a little bit of time to go work on a project outside of their normal responsibilities.”

The program is likened to Google’s 20% program, which enables its employees to spend about 20% of their overall time working on side projects. There’s obviously a big difference between a few weeks and 20% time, but you get the idea.

This is yet more evidence that Apple’s internal culture is really changing under Tim Cook’s regime. Which is interesting, because in his internal email to employees last year, sent shortly after Steve Jobs resigned, he promised nothing would.

The changes all seem to be for the better though. Apple donating to charities is a good thing, and it sounds like Forstall’s departure will bring the management team closer together. But will they all add up to success? We’ll find out in the next few years.

What do you think? Are Tim Cook’s changes good or bad for Apple?