The Amazon headquarters sits virtually empty on March 10, 2020 in downtown Seattle, Washington. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Amazon recommended all employees in its Seattle office to work from home, leaving much of downtown nearly void of people.
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Amazon is giving its employees more flexibility to work from home even after its offices begin to reopen next year.
In a memo to employees Monday, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company will leave it up to individual team directors to decide how often their employees work in the office.
“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,” Jassy wrote. “We’re intentionally not prescribing how many days or which days — this is for Directors to determine with their senior leaders and teams.”
Amazon declined to say how many people it employs at the director level.
The move marks a shift from Amazon’s earlier return-to-work plans, which said it expected most corporate employees to return to the office beginning Jan. 3, 2022. Amazon had set a baseline of three days a week in the office, leaving employees the option to work remotely up to two days a week.
Jassy said Amazon found it couldn’t prescribe a “one-size-fits-all approach” to work at the company’s scale. Amazon now has 1.3 million employees worldwide, with hundreds of thousands of those in corporate roles.
As part of the policy change, Amazon will also give corporate employees the option to work up to four weeks per year fully remotely from any location within the country they’re employed.
While Amazon is giving employees greater leeway on reporting to the office, Jassy said most employees will be expected to remain close enough to their team “that they can easily travel to the office for a meeting within a day’s notice.”
Other tech giants have also embraced remote work. Microsoft in September indefinitely postponed its return to the office, while Facebook and Google expect a portion of their employees to continue to work from home if their jobs can be done remotely.
Twitter even told its employees last year they can work from home “forever” if they choose to.