Amazon’s headquarters remains nearly empty on March 10, 2020 in downtown Seattle, Washington. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Amazon has ordered all employees at its Seattle office to work from home, leaving much of the center virtually empty.
John Moore | Getty Images
Amazon instructs corporate employees to spend at least three days a week in the office, CEO Andy Jassy wrote in a note Friday.
This marks a change from Amazon’s previous policy, which left it up to individual managers to decide how often their employees would have to work from the office.
Jassy said he and the S-team, a tight-knit group of senior executives from nearly every area of Amazon’s business, decided at a meeting earlier this week that employees should be in the office “most of the time (at least three days a week).” They made the decision after deciding it would benefit company culture and workers’ ability to learn and collaborate with one another.
Amazon plans to implement the change on May 1. There will be some exceptions to the rule, Jassi said, such as customer support roles that have a telecommuting option.
“It is not easy to bring many thousands of employees back to our offices around the world, so we will give the teams that have to do this work some time to develop a plan,” Jassi said. “We know it won’t be perfect at first, but the office experience will continue to improve over the coming months (and years) as our real estate and facilities teams work out the kinks and ultimately continue to evolve into how we want our offices to be.” to be set up to capture the new ways we want to work.”
Other companies have recently called employees back to the office, either full-time or a few days a week, as the Covid-19 pandemic subsides. Google and An apple require some of their employees to return to the office from last year, while Disney in January began requiring hybrid employees to be in the office four days a week.
Amazon is pushing employees to be in the office more often as it undergoes a period of belt-tightening amid slowing sales and a worsening economic outlook. Amazon has initiated the largest layoffs in its history, affecting about 18,000 people, along with a corporate hiring freeze. It also terminated some experimental projects.
Jassi said one of the benefits of returning to the office is that employees will have more opportunities to brainstorm ideas and innovate.
“A lesser-known fact is that some of the best inventions had their breakthrough moments from people staying in a meeting and working on ideas on a whiteboard, or walking back to an office together on the way back from a meeting, or I just went to a teammate’s office later that day with a different thought,” he added.
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