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Amazon updated its return-to-office guidelines on Thursday, opting for a "baseline" of three days in-office. The specific in-office days will be determined by individual leadership teams within the company. Employees can show up in person for work four or five days a week, should they desire it.
As part of the new baseline expectations, corporate Amazon employees will be given a period of four weeks per year in which they can be fully remote, with no expectation of checking into an office. The company stipulated, however, that employees had to be working from a "domestic location."
Employees will have the option to apply for an exception from a VP if they want to be considered a primarily remote worker. Amazon said these employees will be given a shared office workplace rather than a dedicated one.
"Our thinking is predicated on what we believe will be most beneficial for customers, while also trying to give employees more flexibility in their work environment and lives," Amazon stated in a press release.
In an internal version of the memo seen by GeekWire, Amazon set a Sept. 7 deadline by which it expects employees in the U.S., U.K. and Australia to regularly return to offices.
Amazon's new policy is about middle-of-the-road when it comes to Big Tech return-to-work policies:
- Facebook hasn't announced its official return-to-office policy yet, but it so far appears to be taking a more lenient approach than the rest of Big Tech. Mark Zuckerberg told employees that he expects half of Facebook's workforce to be remote by 2022. A company executive told the Wall Street Journal that around 90% of remote-work requests had been approved.
- Microsoft announced in October that for "most roles," working from home part-time (less than 50% of the time) would be considered standard. This policy isn't particularly well-defined, however, as it depends on the discretion of team managers within the company.
- In May, Google sent an internal company memo in which it relaxed previous work-from-home guidelines, which would have required employees to be in-office three days a week. Instead, Sundar Pichai said that around 60% of Googlers would work in offices a few days a week, while around 20% would work remotely on a permanent basis. Remote employees will miss out on the inflatable office walls that Google considered as part of a pandemic office redesign.
- Like Amazon, Apple expects most corporate employees to return to an office for three days a week beginning in September. Apple has received considerable employee pushback for this approach, according to Business Insider. In announcing the decision, Tim Cook stated: "Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate."