Amazon employees express dismay at sudden return-to-office policy

A reception at the Amazon offices in downtown Seattle, Washington.

Chapman Valley | AFP | Getty Images

amazon On Tuesday, employees continued to speak out about CEO Andy Jassy’s newly announced return-to-office mandate, including spamming an internal website with messages conveying their opposition to the new policy.

A group of tech workers created a Slack channel and wrote an internal petition postponing the term, which requires them to return to the office at least three days a week starting May 1. The petition urges Jassy and Amazon’s leadership team, known as the S team, to step down from the mandate, just days after it was announced.

Since then, the group has amassed 16,000 members and about 5,000 employees signed the petition on Tuesday night.

Employee dissatisfaction with the mandate spilled over to the employee e-tailer’s internal news feed, called Inside Amazon, where employees repeatedly commented on a recording of Jassy’s recent all-hands meeting.

“By arbitrarily forcing a return to the office without providing data to back it up and despite clear evidence that it is the wrong decision for employees, Amazon has failed in its role as the world’s best employer,” according to screenshots viewed. by CNBC. “I believe this decision will be detrimental to our business and is contrary to how we make decisions at Amazon.”

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Employees began leaving these comments after Amazon blocked employees from “liking” or commenting on Jassy’s memo announcing the return-to-office mandate, according to an employee, who asked to remain anonymous. Each comment shows the author’s identity and role in the company.

Employees who posted to the Slack channel said they were taken aback by the announcement. Many expressed frustration at having to find childcare arrangements, caregivers for aging parents, or potentially moving to be close to the office.

One worker said he recently leased a car with an annual limit of 16,000 miles, assuming remote work was still an option; if they are required to attend the office at least three days a week, they will exceed this limit.

Others took advantage of the company’s previous flexible working position as an opportunity to move out of big cities to find more affordable housing, and are now worried about their daily commute.

An employee invited Jassy to the Slack channel, prompting employees to encourage their colleagues to be responsible and avoid creating too much of a ruckus, as doing so could cause the company to shut down the channel.

Many employees are putting the phrase “Remote Advocacy” in their Slack status to show their support for the petition.

In addition to conveying its concerns about the mandate, the petition also presents a series of data and studies that highlight the benefits of remote working, such as increased productivity and the ability to attract and retain the best talent.

Previously, Amazon had left it up to individual managers to decide how often their teams would be required to come to the office. Jassy has also embraced remote and hybrid work, predicting it would have a lasting impact on how people do their jobs.

Last week, Jassy acknowledged that calling employees back to the office would pose some challenges.

“We know it won’t be perfect at first, but the office experience will steadily improve over the coming months (and years) as our real estate and facilities teams smooth out the wrinkles and ultimately continue to evolve how we want our offices to function. be configured to capture the new ways we want to work,” Jassy wrote in a memo announcing the tenure.

Several tech companies have returned to in-person work as the pandemic has subsided. Google and Apple have required some of their employees to be back in the office since last year, while Disney in January began requiring hybrid workers to be in the office four days a week.

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