CEO Andy Jassy sent out a memo on Friday that’s sending ripples across the industry.
At least, it was at one point.
After CEO Andy Jassy told an audience at September’s Code Conference in Los Angeles that he had “no plan” to force employees back to the office, 2023 seems to have him singing a different tune.
“We don’t have a plan to require people to come back,” Jassy said in Sept. 2022 — just five months ago. “We don’t right now. But we’re going to proceed adaptively as we learn.”
Now, however, Jassey is trying to pull more folks into the office.
Amazon Says It’s Time to Come Back to Work
Jassy laid out a number of reasons he believes in-person work is superior to working from one’s personal desk, sofa, or bed. These include:
It’s easier to learn, model, practice, and strengthen our culture when we’re in the office together most of the time and surrounded by our colleagues…
Collaborating and inventing is easier and more effective when we’re in person…
Learning from one another is easier in-person. Being able to walk a few feet to somebody’s space and ask them how to do something or how they’ve handled a particular situation is much easier than Chiming or Slacking them…
Teams tend to be better connected to one another when they see each other in person more frequently. 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.
Which is exactly why it’s time to return to work, he says.
“And ultimately, they’ve led us to conclude that we should go back to being in the office together the majority of the time (at least three days per week),” Jassy wrote in his Friday memo titled “Update from Andy Jassy on return to office plans.”
Returning to Work Is No Easy Task
It’s true, Jassy says, that coordinating this return to office will be difficult. Amazon employs thousands of people across many time zones, so convincing everyone to get back to their respective hubs is nothing short of a herculean task. As of 2022, Amazon had over 1.5 million full- and part-time employees.
Not everyone is on the list of “must return,” however.
“Of course, as there were before the pandemic, there will still be certain roles (e.g. some of our salespeople, customer support, etc.) and exceptions to these expectations, but that will be a small minority,” Jassy said. “We plan to implement this change effective May 1.”