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Amazon wants employees back in the office three days a week starting May 1

Employees walk through a lobby at Amazon's headquarters in Seattle.
Employees walk through a lobby at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle. The three-days-a-week in-office mandate takes effect May 1.
(Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
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Amazon.com is asking employees to work from the office at least three days a week, scrapping a prior policy that had left such decisions to senior managers.

The mandate takes effect on May 1, Chief Executive Andy Jassy said in a memo to employees that was posted on Amazon’s corporate blog. Jassy said there would be exceptions, including for some sales and customer support jobs, “but that will be a small minority.”

“Teams tend to be better connected to one another when they see each other in person more frequently,” Jassy said. “There is something about being face-to-face with somebody, looking them in the eye and seeing they’re fully immersed in whatever you’re discussing that bonds people together.”

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In asking employees to report to the office more frequently, Amazon, the second-largest private U.S. employer after Walmart, joins the ranks of companies that are rolling back some of the work-from-anywhere flexibility offered during the pandemic. Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft now all require employees to work in the office a minimum number of days.

Amazon in October 2021 said managers could decide how frequently employees needed to be in the office. Attendance has been uneven since, employees say. The headquarters campus in downtown Seattle is bustling some days and a ghost town on others. Some staff, especially on dispersed teams, have been working in the office a couple of days a week. Others have barely worked in the office since the start of the pandemic. An Amazon spokesperson declined to provide details on how many employees were currently going in.

Amazon.com Inc. is laying off more than 18,000 employees — a significantly bigger number than previously planned — in the latest sign that a technology slump is deepening.

Jan. 4, 2023

Getting a significant number of personnel to return could boost the commercial districts around Amazon locations. Outside of ailing downtown Seattle, where Amazon is by far the largest employer, the company is a major office tenant in the San Francisco Bay Area; New York; Austin, Texas; and the Los Angeles area, among other cities.

“Our communities matter to us, and where we can play a further role in helping them recover from the challenges of the last few years, we’re excited to do so,” Jassy said.

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