Amazon has informed employees that they must return to the office three days a week, reversing a previous remote work policy.
In October 2021, Amazon’s leadership decided to leave it up to individual teams to dictate whether members would need to be in-office or could work remotely. At the time, executives acknowledged that no one-size-fits-all approach would work effectively. The company appears to be reversing course, with CEO Andy Jassy telling employees in an email they must work from the office at least three days a week.
Jassy highlighted a number of lessons learned over the nearly three years of the pandemic:
- It’s easier to learn, model, practice, and strengthen our culture when we’re in the office together most of the time and surrounded by our colleagues. It’s especially true for new people (and we’ve hired a lot of people in the pandemic); but it’s also true for people of all tenures at Amazon.
- Collaborating and inventing is easier and more effective when we’re in person. The energy and riffing on one another’s ideas happen more freely.
- Learning from one another is easier in-person. Being able to walk a few feet to somebody’s space and ask them how to do something or how they’ve handled a particular situation is much easier than Chiming or Slacking them.
- Teams tend to be better connected to one another when they see each other in person more frequently.
After discussing in more detail each of the above four factors, Jassy revealed the conclusion these observations led to:
These are just a few examples, but they’re important ones with respect to our overriding priority to deliver for customers and the business. And ultimately, they’ve led us to conclude that we should go back to being in the office together the majority of the time (at least three days per week). We made this decision at a s-team meeting earlier this week, and for a number of reasons (including the adjustments I know will be required for some of our employees), I wanted to share with you as early as I could even though we haven’t worked out all the execution details yet.
While acknowledging that there are some roles on both ends of the spectrum that will be exceptions to the rule, Jassy says these “will be a small minority.” For everyone else, these changes will go into effect May 1.