Amazon Will Let Managers Decide When Employees Return to Office After Jassy Says the Company Needs to Treat Employees Better

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Amazon’s new CEO Andy Jassy shifted his position about remote work, as “there is no one-size-fits-all approach for how every team works best.” Jassy updated the company guidance yesterday, leaving it to individual managers to set when employees come to the office, according to a memo to employees.

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“We’ve shared a couple of updates on this topic, first thinking we’d be back in the office in September 2021, and then by January 2022, with the suggestion that we should all try to be in the office at least three days a week. This guidance prompted questions, like, ‘Who decides which days, does the team need to be in the same days, are there certain functions or teams that can work more effectively at home vs the office (and vice versa),’ and many more. We met several times as a leadership team to discuss these questions,” Jassy said in the memo.

The move echoes an increasing mindset in the workplace. As GOBankingRates reported last month, while the hybrid workplace model has been praised as a great benefactor to work-life balance, now some experts argue that it might not be what employees want and that this is not a “one size fits all” situation. Instead, employees would rather have flexibility, or “agility,” and choose on their own terms where and when they work.

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In his memo, Jassy said that for corporate roles, instead of specifying that people work a baseline of three days a week in the office, the decision will be up to individual teams.

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“We’re intentionally not prescribing how many days or which days — this is for Directors to determine with their senior leaders and teams. The decisions should be guided by what will be most effective for our customers; and not surprisingly, we will all continue to be evaluated by how we deliver for customers, regardless of where the work is performed,” he said.

Jassy added that employees will hear from their leaders about these specific plans before Jan. 3, 2022, the date set previously for people to start returning to the office at least three days a week.

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“As mentioned earlier, these are unusual times and we’re all learning together what we believe is the best way to work together to make customers’ lives easier and better every day. And with it being so early in our mission, with lots of invention and change in front of us, you can bet that we will continue to adjust as we keep learning what makes most sense for our customers and teams,” he said.

The decision follows comments Jassy made earlier this month, speaking at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle, when he said there was more the company could do to treat employees better, according to CNBC. He specifically called out Amazon’s approach to pandemic leave as one area where it fell short. “It didn’t work the way we wanted it to work,” Jassy said, according to CNBC.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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