An internal Amazon staff FAQ session strongly indicates that the company is going to approach enforcing its back-to-office mandate with little flexibility.
Amazon’s decision to require corporate workers to attend their assigned office a minimum of three times a week sparked outrage when it was announced last month, and the responses from the corporate will likely add fuel to the fire.
The return-to-work policy refers to corporate employees only – Amazon has around 300,000 of them on its payroll, many of whom have been dialing in to virtual meetings for the past three years.
Amazon: Return to the Office, and Relocate If Necessary
The internal FAQ, seen by The Business Journals, consisted of 28 questions in total – including one querying whether workers who lived significant distances from their assigned office still need to make their way in after the mandate has started.
In response to the question, Amazon said that it will be “allowing employees extra time until you can relocate back to [their] assigned area or transferring to another team near your location.” Both options have the capacity to cause major disruption to individual employees, who will be anxiously awaiting April 14, which is when they find out precisely where they've been assigned.
Many staff members have complained about the date a company Slack channel created by employees who wanted to air their grievances relating to the policy, which they say is way too late to be telling them.
Amazon Managers Told to Bring Teams Back Together
Another response revealed that Amazon wants its managers “to work towards having as many of their team members together in one physical location as possible”.
This effectively makes it part of an Amazon manager’s role to bring teams that have moved apart since the pandemic back together, another signal that there’s going to be little wiggle room for employees who want to circumvent the policy.
What’s more, remote-working exceptions for specific individuals – which used to simply need managerial approval – will now have to be signed off by the board.
Amazon’s Return to Office Policy: Unnecessarily Stringent?
There are aspects of Amazon’s return-to-office mandate that make it seem a little bit like a mandate for mandate’s sake.
For example, employees are expected to report to their assigned offices even if they are the only members of their team reporting to any given location.
This seems excessive when you consider that virtually every employee will have access to video conferencing software and a sufficient internet connection.
Returning to the office can have its benefits, but forcing competent employees who have up until this point performed commendably in their roles (well enough, at least, for the company not to lay them off) into the office won’t improve already souring relationships between managers and the rest of the company.