Amazon is adjusting its hybrid work policy—and some employees reportedly aren’t happy about it.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has ordered the e-commerce giant’s corporate employees to return to the office for at least three days per week. “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,” he wrote in a Feb. 17 memo to employees. “Of course, there will be plenty of meetings that will have significant virtual participation, but having more in-person interactions helps people absorb the culture better.”
Jassy also believes that in-office participation leads to a boost in collaboration, innovation, and learning. “Teams tend to be better connected to one another when they see each other in person more frequently,” the memo added. “There is something about being face-to-face with somebody, looking them in the eye, and seeing they’re fully immersed in whatever you’re discussing that bonds people together.”
However, it seems like not all Amazon employees agree: According to CNBC, roughly 14,000 Amazonians have joined an internal slack channel “to advocate for remote work and share their concerns about the new return-to-work policy.” There’s also a petition that asks Jassy and his senior executives to reconsider their position.
Amazon isn’t the first big tech company to tweak its position on remote work. Two years ago, for example, Salesforce announced that employees would have multiple options for working, including full-time remote work; however, there’s now pressure on employees to return to the office for at least a few days per week. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has complained that a lack of in-office culture might be translating into lower productivity among newer employees.
Walmart and other companies are likewise leaning into a hybrid-work mindset. For any company shifting away from remote work, there’s a hint of good news: in multiple surveys over the past few years, many employees have expressed a preference for hybrid work, especially younger workers who want a chance at some in-person mentorship and camaraderie. For managers who must ease their team members back to the office, displaying flexibility (and explaining the benefits of hybrid work) could help maintain morale during the transition.