Amazon workers urge CEO Andy Jassy to drop return-to-office mandate

The Amazon Spheres, part of the Amazon headquarters campus, right, in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Sunday October 24, 2021.

Chona Kasinger | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A group of Amazon Staffers urge CEO Andy Jassy to reconsider new mandate for return to office

On Friday, Jassy announced that Amazon would require the company’s employees to spend at least three days a week in the office starting May 1, and that working in person would strengthen the company’s culture.

The move marks a departure from Amazon’s pandemic-era policy, which was last updated in October 2021, which left managers to decide how often their teams needed to be in the office. Since then, there has been a mix of fully remote and hybrid work among Amazon employees.

Employees launched a Slack channel on Friday to advocate for remote work and share their concerns about the new return-to-work policy, screenshots revealed by CNBC. As of Tuesday morning, nearly 14,000 employees had joined the Slack channel.

Employees also wrote a petition addressed to Jassy and the S-Team, urging leadership to drop the new policy as it goes against Amazon’s positions on diversity and inclusion, affordable housing, sustainability and the focus on the… Its “contrary”. the “best employer on earth”.

“We, the undersigned, call on Amazon to protect its role and status as a global retail and technology leader by immediately terminating the RTO policy and issuing a new policy that allows employees to work remotely or more flexibly , if you wish. as her team and professional role will allow,” read a draft petition previously reported to Business Insider.

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An Amazon spokesman referenced Jassy’s blog post about returning to the office.

Staff also referenced Jassy’s previous comments on plans to return to the office, in which he said there was no “one-size-fits-all approach to how each team works best” and praised the benefits of remote work.

“Many employees trusted these statements and planned a life in which their employer would not force them to return to the office,” reads a draft of the petition. “The RTO mandate has shaken their confidence in Amazon executives.”

Employees who have relocated or been hired for a remote position during the pandemic are concerned about how the new policy will affect them, according to an employee who asked to remain anonymous. Amazon’s headcount has exploded over the past three years, and it’s hired more employees outside of its main tech hubs like Seattle, New York, and Northern California as it embraces a more distributed workforce.

Amazon hasn’t addressed whether remote workers will be asked to relocate, apart from Jassy noting that there will be “a small minority” of exceptions to the new policy.

The petition cites internal data showing that a significant proportion of employees prefer to work fully remotely with the option of monthly in-office syncing, or at most one to two days a week in the office. It also points to research showing that remote work increases productivity, enabling companies like Amazon to cut expenses and attract and retain top talent.

It also notes that a return to predominantly face-to-face work could impact employees’ work-life balance, particularly harming parents, minorities, carers and people with disabilities. Employees also questioned Amazon’s rationale for forcing in-person labor in all cases. For example, some employees who are part of global teams will only come into the office to continue holding virtual meetings, and they may not even have a colleague in their office, the petition said.

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