Amazon on Thursday confirmed that it is delaying its plans to bring corporate employees back to the office as cases of the Covid-19 virus surge. The tech giant now expects employees in the US and other countries to begin coming in regularly on January 3, 2022.
Previously, Amazon expected a return to the office beginning the week of September 7. Amazon said in an email to ZDNet that the health and well-being of its employees is its top priority and that it's monitoring the situation closely. The company is working with medical professionals and following local government guidance as it amends its policy.
Amazon said that if employees have not verified they are fully vaccinated, they are required to wear masks in offices.
Like many employers, Amazon has embraced hybrid work plans in response to the ongoing pandemic, giving corporate employees more flexibility. The changes are a challenge for corporate cultures that value in-person collaboration. Back in March, Amazon said that it plans to "return to an office-centric culture as our baseline. We believe it enables us to invent, collaborate, and learn together most effectively."
Other tech companies are similarly pushing back plans to open their offices as Covid-19 cases once again surge. Earlier this week, Microsoft said it was once again pushing back the earliest date for the full opening of its US worksites to October 4. Google is also extending its voluntary work-from-home policy through late October. Both Google and Microsoft will start requiring workers to be vaccinated before coming into the office.