Not working remotely, or not remotely working? That's a question Amazon managers might be asking their workers in the near future, with the ecommerce giant giving managers the greenlight to fire those who aren't coming into the office three or more days per week.
The news comes from a leaked update to Amazon's global manager guide, which details the company's return-to-office policy, alongside talking points for the managerial class.
This month, the percentage of people working from home hit a record low since the start of the 2020 pandemic, which pushed many to work remotely.
Like the new Amazon guidance, this industry shift seems to be a top-down decision. As one study shows, the majority of CEOs everywhere are hoping for a return to a full five-day in-office work week.
What to Expect from Amazon's New Remote Work Guidelines
The guideline updates, covered by an Insider scoop, explain a multi-step path managers can take when wrangling employees back into the physical office three times a week.
First, they can hold a private conversation to address the issue, which they should be sure to document after the fact. Then, assuming the worker doesn't comply, the manager should hold a second meeting, and when needed, take disciplinary action — even going so far as to terminate employment, or as Insider puts it, “effectively fire” them.
🔎 Want to browse the web privately? 🌎 Or appear as if you're in another country?
Get a huge 86% off Surfshark with this Tech.co Black Friday offer.
It's the firmest anti-remote stance Amazon has taken yet, backing up one executive's claims from earlier this year that they'll remain committed, despite that fact that he had “no data either way” to explain their reasoning.
Are Tech Layoffs Keeping Workers Docile?
In 2023, we've seen a year-long bloodbath of tech company layoffs, even while average CEO pay soared (in 2021, it was 1,460% higher than in 1978). And, one interpretation of this no-tolerance in-office work policy would indicate, Amazon is continuing to look for ways to cut its workforce.
This month, we covered a new survey from the US Census Bureau on remote work numbers in the US: They've hit a new low, with just 26% of all households having at least one person working from home at least one day out of the week. That's a low bar. The percentage hit its highest number (37%) in early 2021.
It makes sense as a response to many top tech companies including Amazon, Apple, and Meta continuing to push for in-office work, even despite plenty of employees pushing back. Is all hope lost?
Remote Work Is Still Around
This can make it seem as if remote work is going away across the board. In reality, it means that remote work is simply becoming a more attractive perk for smaller tech companies that hope to remain competitive. It's simple supply-and-demand: Remote work helps out anyone who's juggling extra responsibilities in their life, so demand is high, yet the biggest tech companies are attempting to cut off the supply.
We've posted plenty of remote job listings in the past, as well as guidelines to which types of remote jobs are the easiest to pick up with little to no extra qualifications. Microsoft alone has over 400 different job titles available at our last count — many of which are paying over $100,000.
The writing certainly seems to be on the wall for any Amazon employees who rely on remote workplace flexibility to care for loved ones or accommodate disabilities: It's time to dust off the resume.