Amazon return-to-office plans left up to managers
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Amazon's senior leadership is open to mixing it up when it comes to corporate workers' return to the office and has handed the decision down the chain of command as to whether, when and how often employees will make the trek to the workplace once their offices open again in 2022.
In a notice to Amazon employees on Monday, CEO Andy Jassy pointed out that the company first thought they would be back in the office in September 2021, before pushing that date back to Jan. 3 "with the suggestion we should all try to be in the office at least three days a week."
Andy Jassy, chief executive officer of Amazon (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Jassy said top leadership heard an array of questions on how that might look and determined that "at a company of our size, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for how every team works best."
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The CEO said they ultimately decided to "change course a bit," announcing that "for our corporate roles, instead of specifying that people work a baseline of three days a week in the office, we’re going to leave this decision up to individual teams."
SEATTLE, WA – MAY 20: The exterior of The Spheres are seen at the Amazon.com Inc. headquarters on May 20, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. Five women employees sued Amazon this week, alleging discrimination and retaliation. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Im
"This decision will be made team by team at the Director level," Jassy explained. "We expect that there will be teams that continue working mostly remotely, others that will work some combination of remotely and in the office, and still others that will decide customers are best served having the team work mostly in the office. We’re intentionally not prescribing how many days or which days — this is for Directors to determine with their senior leaders and teams."
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Jassy stated that Amazon will continue its policy of allowing corporate employees to work remotely from anywhere they choose for up to four weeks each year, as long as it is within their country of employment. Outside of that, he said, the company would like to see most folks able to make it to a meeting in the office when given a day's notice.
Jocelyn Nieto stows packages into special containers after Amazon robots deliver separated packages by zip code at an Amazon warehouse facility in Goodyear, Ariz. . (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
The CEO also gave a shout-out in his memo to Amazon's fulfillment and transportation employees, who have been unable to work remotely throughout the pandemic. He wrote, "I just want to thank these teammates for their passion, commitment, and continued dedication. It's highly appreciated."
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Amazon's corporate employees have been working remotely since last year after COVID-19 first hit, and the company shifted gears more than once regarding their return to the office as the pandemic has dragged on.
Jassy said in his letter that "these are unusual times," adding, "you can bet that we will continue to adjust as we keep learning what makes most sense for our customers and teams."
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