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Monday, October 18, 2021

Amazon’s new work-from-home policy: let teams decide

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy sent an email to employees on Monday outlining a shift in work-from-home policies for its office workers. As of August, the plan had been for employees to return to the offices in January 2022, with the expectation being that workers spent three days a week in the office and two days a week remote. However, under the new policy announced Monday, Amazon lets individual teams decide how often their people need to come into the office.

Here’s Jassy’s explanation of the new policies and how they will work:

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. This decision will be made team by team 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. 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 says that employees should expect to hear from their team leaders on their plans before January 3rd. However, “we want most of our people close enough to their core team that they can easily travel to the office for a meeting within a day’s notice,” according to Jassy. Employees will also be able to work up to four weeks per year fully remote, as long as they work within the country where they are employed.

These changes only apply to office employees; other workers, including the company’s warehouse workers, drivers, AWS datacenter employees, retail staffers, and employees developing devices, won’t have as flexible of schedules.

Amazon is not the only company to have recently revised its plans for bringing employees back to the office due to uncertainties regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, both Apple and Google pushed their mandatory return to the office to January 2022. In September, Microsoft went a step farther, indefinitely delaying its office reopening.

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