Amazon employees push CEO Andy Jassy to drop back-to-office mandate

The Amazon Spheres, part of Amazon’s headquarters campus, right, in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, U.S., Sunday, October 24, 2021.

Chona Kasinger | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A group of Amazon employees are urging CEO Andy Jassy to reconsider a recent term back in office.

Last week, Jassy announced that Amazon would require company employees to spend at least three days a week in the office starting May 1. , determined that it would be easier for employees to collaborate and invent together in person, while strengthening the company culture.

The move marks a change from Amazon’s previous policy, last updated in October 2021, which left it up to managers to decide how often their teams should be in the office. Since then, there has been a mix of fully remote and hybrid working among white-collar workers at Amazon.

On Friday, staffers created a Slack channel to advocate for remote work and share their concerns about the new return-to-work policy, according to screenshots viewed by CNBC. Nearly 14,000 employees had joined the Slack channel as of Tuesday morning.

Employees also penned a petition, addressed to Jassy and the S-team, calling on executives to drop the new policy, saying it “runs contrary” to Amazon’s positions on diversity and inclusion, the affordable housing, sustainability and a focus on being. the “Best Employer on Earth”.

“We, the undersigned, call on Amazon to protect its role and status as a global retail and technology leader by immediately rescinding the RTO policy and issuing a new policy that allows employees to work remotely or more flexible, if they choose to do so, to the extent that their team and role allows,” according to a draft of the petition, which was previously reported by Business Insider.

An Amazon spokesperson recalled Jassy’s blog post on back-to-office advice.

Employees also pointed to Jassy’s previous statements about return-to-office plans, in which he said there was “no one-size-fits-all approach to how each team works best” and touted the benefits of remote work.

“Many employees trusted these statements and planned a life where their employer would not force them back into the office,” reads a draft of the petition. “The RTO mandate shattered their trust in Amazon executives.”

Employees who moved during the pandemic or were hired for a remote position are concerned about the impact of the new policy on them, according to one employee, who asked to remain anonymous. Amazon’s workforce has exploded over the past three years, and it has hired more employees outside of its main tech hubs like Seattle, New York and Northern California as it adopts a workforce more distributed work.

Amazon did not specify whether remote employees will be asked to relocate, beyond Jassy noting that there will be “a small minority” of exceptions to the new policy.

The petition cites internal data showing that a significant portion of employees prefer to work entirely remotely with the option of a monthly office sync, or prefer to work in the office no more than one to two days a week. He also points to research showing that working remotely increases productivity and allows companies like Amazon to cut costs and attract and retain top talent.

It also notes that a return to primarily in-person work could affect employees’ work-life balance and could particularly harm parents, minorities, caregivers and people with disabilities. Employees also questioned Amazon’s justification for forcing in-person work in all cases. For example, some employees who are part of global teams will only come into the office to continue participating in virtual meetings, and they may not even have a colleague in their office, the petition states.

SHOW: Andy Jassy on the benefits of working remotely

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