Amazon leaves return-to-office plan to individual teams

The tech giant previously wanted Amazon staff back in the office at least three days a week, but this decision will now be decided on a team-by-team basis.

Amazon confirmed on Tuesday that the decision around whether corporate staff returns to the office would be left to individual teams.

The tech giant announced in August that it was delaying plans to bring back staff until early 2022 due to surging COVID-19 cases. At the time, its intention was to see staff back in the office at least three days a week. But in a message to employees CEO Andy Jassy, he acknowledged that due to uncertainty and different circumstances, those plans would now be made on a team-by-team basis at the director level.

"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," he wrote.

"We're intentionally not prescribing how many days or which days -- this is for directors to determine with their senior leaders and teams.

"The decisions should be guided by what will be most effective for our customers; and not surprisingly, we will all continue to be evaluated by how we deliver for customers, regardless of where the work is performed."

Jassy noted, however, that staff should reside "close enough to their core team that they can easily travel to the office for a meeting within a day's notice".

He also added that Amazon would support corporate staff, who can work remotely, with the option to work up to four weeks per year fully remote from any location within their country of employment.

At the same time, Jassy took the opportunity to also thank staff within the company's fulfilment and transportation divisions whose roles are not as flexible as corporate roles. These include those working in its data centres, physical stores, and R&D team.

"The work of these teams remains critical to communities around the world (and to the company's success), and the world has relied on them to deliver products to their doorsteps since the very beginning of the pandemic," he said.

Further details about specific plans will be provided to staff on 3 January 2022, the original date the company had set for people to return to the office, Jassy said. 

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