amazon workers push back on andy jassy back to office mandate

Amazon workers have been vocal against the latest decision made by the company’s leadership team that forces them to work from a physical office at least 3 days a week according to internal communications that various media outlets have accessed.

It was Amazon’s previous policy that “director-level leaders” had the freedom to decide if they adopted a hybrid or fully remote work model as the dynamics of each area of the company were completely different.

The policy dates back to 2021 when vaccinations permitted relatively large groups of people to progressively return to the physical locations where they used to work before the health crisis broke loose.

Amazon Wants People to Be Physically Present Three Days a Week At Least

Last Friday the Chief Executive Officer of Amazon, Andy Jassy, shared a blog post in which he highlighted what the company learned from the various models adopted by different areas of the company.

According to Jassy, the leadership team observed that the dynamics that take place within a physical office such as those involving training, brainstorming, and camaraderie evolved the best in a physical environment, not a virtual one.

These observations lead Jassy and his team, also known as the S-team, to conclude that it is a good idea to bring people back to the office at least “the majority of the time”, meaning that workers should attend a physical premise at least three days a week.

Jassy informed the company’s employees that this new policy will be effective from 1 May this year.

“We know that it won’t be perfect at first, but the office experience will steadily improve over the coming months (and years) as our real estate and facilities teams smooth out the wrinkles, and ultimately keep evolving how we want our offices to be set up to capture the new ways we want to work”, Jassy highlighted.

Many other companies aside from Amazon have also opted to enforce back-to-office mandates. The list includes tech giants such as Netflix (NFLX), Adobe (ADBE), and Apple (AAPL), all of which have, at first, incentivized hybrid models that require workers to be physically present at least three days a week.

Making Hundreds of Thousands of Employees Happy is an Impossible Task

What Amazon’s top executives may not have expected is the degree of opposition that they will encounter from employees from all across the world who have voiced their discontent by using the company’s internal communications platform – Slack – and have even brought forward a petition that others can sign to get the S-team to drop the mandate.

According to screenshots viewed by CNBC recently, over 14,000 employees have already joined the Slack group and thousands have signed the petition to go back to letting directors choose what model works best for their teams.

“We, the undersigned, call for Amazon to protect its role and status as a global retail and tech leader by immediately cancelling the RTO policy and issuing a new policy that allows employees to work remotely or more flexibly, if they choose to do so, as their team and job role permits”, a draft of the petition seen by Business Insider reads.

For a company that hires more than 1.5 million employees worldwide, pleasing everybody is nearly impossible. However, the arrangements and logistics involved in bringing back thousands of people to a physical office are also quite challenging after workers spent many months adjusting their routines to fully remote or hybrid work models.

Many workers within the Slack group have claimed that they have made some major changes to their living arrangements to accommodate a fully remote model that they thought would prevail for the rest of their tenure at the e-commerce giant.

With this new mandate, they are now being forced to roll back some of those changes, in many cases at a substantial cost. Thus far, Jassy has not made any official comments in regard to how the company plans to address the growing backlash.

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