According to Amazon, team leaders will determine when employees will return to the office and how many days they will likely be.
The mega-corporation originally intended to have employees at its desks again around three days a week from September, but delayed this to January 2022 after the rapid outbreak of the delta variant of the novel corona virus.
Speaking to his “amazons” about the latest policy change, CEO Andy Jassy said senior executives had considered personnel issues, including when to return; how much time is divided between home and office work; and what promotes the best collaboration and invention or builds the best connection and culture.
“First, none of us know the definitive answer to these questions, especially in the long run. Second, in a company our size, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to how each team works best. We will be in a phase of experimenting, learning, and adapting for a while as we overcome this pandemic. All of this made us change course a little, “said Jassy.
“For our corporate roles, we will be leaving that decision up to the individual teams, rather than stipulating that employees work in the office on a basic three-day-a-week schedule,” he added. “This decision is made team by team at the director level.”
This means that some teams “continue to work mostly remotely” while others mess up their work week by agreeing to come to the office and work from home. Then there will be those who “think that customers are best served when the team works mainly in the office”.
These decisions are at the directors’ discretion following discussions with senior executives and teams.
“We deliberately don’t dictate how many or what days,” said Jassy. “Decisions should be based on what is most effective for our customers. Unsurprisingly, we all continue to be measured by how we deliver for our customers, regardless of where the work is done.”
At the moment, corporate employees need to be close enough to their core team to “simply travel to the office for a meeting within a day”. However, the CEO acknowledged that employees enjoy working from different locations, and said the company would offer the option of “up to four weeks per year completely remote” – presumably when the pandemic is completely over.
“We expect your executives will hear about these specific plans before January 3, the date we previously set for employees to return to the office at least three days a week,” Jassy concluded.
People in Amazon’s warehouse and logistics department, those at AWS data centers, Amazon branches, or those who design and test new equipment will not be given the same flexibility.
“I just want to thank these teammates for their passion, dedication and continued dedication. It is very much appreciated.”
Amazon isn’t the only one handing decision-making to directors and team leaders. Cisco borrows the exact same playbook in the Proposals it made in July. As for others, Google is calling for employees to be vaccinated before returning to the corporate altar of dreams, as are Microsoft and Facebook. Apple had called the staff back to return this month but postponed it until January.
Some have made a more permanent decision, like Fujitsu, which has closed half of its properties in Japan to create regional hubs or have employees work at home or on-site with customers. At the other end of the spectrum, the Workday CEO can’t wait for his minions to meet up at the water cooler again.
Reg reader? Well, as always, earlier this year you were speaking sensible when you expressed your preference to work from home three days a week and at the office two days. Who wants to spend an average of two hours a day coming to the office, especially when people in pajamas have proven how hard they can work at home? ®