Amazon’s Return to Office Error Sparks Confusion Among Staff

Amazon is doubling down on its return to office mandate - but not very successfully.

After demanding remote workers back at least three days a week in February, Amazon is cracking down on staff attendance, but its approach is leaving a lot of employees confused.

According to emails obtained by the insider, a number of workers have been incorrectly identified as breaching the RTO policy, with some believing the error was caused by a technical bug.

Amazon has been quick to own up to its mistake, but with company employees famously resisting the crackdown and the news breaking just a week after a company executive claimed to have “no data” to back the policy change, this development definitely isn’t a good look for the ecommerce giant.

Amazon Fumbles Return to Office Clampdown

Amazon is doubling down on its return to office mandate, but not very successfully.

This week, the online retail powerhouse sent out a series of emails to employees it believed were not complying with its three-day-a-week office policy.

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The email claimed they weren’t meeting the company’s “expectation of joining (their) colleagues in the office at least three days a week” even though their assigned office was ready.

Amazon claimed the notification was sent out to workers they believed hadn’t physically clocked in at least three days a week for at least five of the past eight weeks, when their building had been ready eight weeks or more.

“I’ve seen many people across the company who believe they received the same notification incorrectly.” – Anonymous Amazon employee

Unsurprisingly, Amazon’s accusatory emails raised some eyebrows amongst the workforce. According to internal tickets filed on Wednesday afternoon, falsely identified employees are confused and angered by the company’s actions, with at least one worker believing the error was caused by a technical bug in data generating and processing.

Amazon’s Return to Office Drama Continues

But gripes with Amazon’s RTO policy are nothing new. After pledging to never force people back into the office, the company demanded workers back into the workspace for three days a week starting in May — much to the disdain of employees.

This decision was challenged quickly. Straight after the news was announced, perturbed staffers circulated a petition calling for Amazon’s return-to-office mandate to be scrapped with instant effect, citing concerns around productivity and work-life balance.

Then, less than a month after this policy was enacted, 2,000 global Amazon workers staged walkouts to protest the company’s U-turn on flexible work.

Is Amazon’s Return to Office Mandate Even Paying Off?

Amazon’s decision to dig its heels in the ground may not be well-founded, either. Just last week, the SVP of Amazon Video and Studios, Mike Hopkins, revealed he had “no data either way” to justify the company’s current stance on hybrid working.

But Amazon’s not the only company throwing out flexible working. Dell, Disney, Walmart and Meta are just some major companies that have demanded workers back into physical locations this year.

What’s more, with companies like Apple threating to disipline staff who don’t comply with office-based working, follow up emails — like those recently received by Amazon staffers — will probably become more commonplace going forward.

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Written by:
Isobel O'Sullivan (BSc) is a senior writer at with over four years of experience covering business and technology news. Since studying Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL), she’s been a regular contributor to Market Finance’s blog and has also worked as a freelance tech researcher. Isobel’s always up to date with the topics in employment and data security and has a specialist focus on POS and VoIP systems.
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