One of the biggest companies in the world has officially changed its policy on remote work, as Amazon announced today that employees could work from home indefinitely.
With the pandemic still disrupting the standard, pre-2020 way of life for businesses around the world, the discussion about the future of remote work continues to make headlines. Employees are demanding flexibility and many businesses are happy to oblige.
Still, Amazon had been a lone holdout for the last few months, insisting that employees would have to commute to the office at least three times per week. That is, until this week.
Amazon Changes Policy on Remote Work
Announced in an internal memo to Amazon employees (oddly addressed as “Amazonians”), CEO Andy Jassy explained that all employees were permitted to work remotely. Unfortunately, there's a catch:
“This decision will be made team by team at the Director level,” wrote Jassy. “We expect that there will be teams that continue working mostly remotely, others that will work some combination of remotely and in the office, and still others that will decide customers are best served having the team work mostly in the office.”
Simply put, employees won't be the ones deciding whether or not they can work remotely; the decision will be up to respective directors of teams. Additionally, employees would still need to be able to make it to a meeting on a day's notice, so travel might be out of the question.
This distinction, according to insiders, has kept Amazon's 60,000 office workers from getting too excited about the announcement, as many aren't sure whether the policy will change in practice.
Why Did Amazon Change Its Policy?
There are a number of reasons why Amazon might have decided to change its work from home policy. The most likely, however, was the significant employee pushback to the initial announcement of a mandatory three days a week plan for the entire company.
Now, even Amazon leadership has realized that, especially for a company of 60,000 office workers, a flexible plan is probably the best option.
“We’re intentionally not prescribing how many days or which days—this is for Directors to determine with their senior leaders and teams,” wrote Jassy. “The decisions should be guided by what will be most effective for our customers.”
While it would've been nice for the “for our customers” to include “for our employees,” it does represent a small step in the right direction for workplace flexibility.
Should Your Team Go Remote?
Amazon was one of a few companies that initially said they wouldn't allow for a fully remote workforce. However, with the ecommerce giant changing its tune, every business should be asking the question: is it time to go remote?
If you aren't at least considering a more flexible approach to your business, you're missing a great opportunity. It's been proven to save money, improve productivity, encourage employee retention, and generally promote better work life balance.
If you're interested in getting started, Tech.co has collected and reviewed a wide range of tools that can help you get started. From VPNs and remote access software for security to CRMs and project management software for online performance tracking, you can get started on building the infrastructure you need to facilitate a remote workforce of your own.