Amazon CEO Gets Tough With Employees Who Won’t Return To Office

Amazon workers have been protesting the company’s return-to-work policy for months, and CEO Andy Jassy seems to have had enough.

Earlier this month, during an internal Q&A session, Jassy advised colleagues that time ran out on disagreeing with the policy and that they should commit to it.

One of the guiding principles of Amazon is “disagree and commit,” a term frequently used by founder and current executive chairman Jeff Bezos.

Jassy said it would probably not work out for you at Amazon if an employee doesn’t commit to returning to the office, arguing that it was unfair for certain workers to come into the office three days a week while others refused to come in at all.

Amazon’s prior policy permitted executives to select how their teams worked, so the new office attendance obligation, announced in February and implemented in May, is a change from that. Amazon cited a blog post from 2021 in which Jassy claimed the firm would “continue to adapt” its policies as new facts became available, but the company said Tuesday that it does not accept the idea that the previous policy was designed to be the standard.

In a statement to employees earlier this year, Jassy said that Amazon had decided to revise its policy after learning from the experiences of other firms and after studying what worked during the epidemic. He claimed the company’s top brass, known as the S-team, had concluded that staff was more productive and creative when interacting face to face.

However, not all employees have been won over. During lunch in May, hundreds of Amazon workers demonstrated against the new policy in Seattle. There were 33,000 people in a pro-remote-work Slack community at the time.

Jassy said at the meeting that after reviewing the available data, firm management concluded that holding meetings remotely is not as productive as it formerly was. He noted that many of Amazon’s most important choices, like launching its online marketplace for sellers and AWS cloud computing division, were taken with less-than-ideal information.

In addition, many media outlets have reported that in July, Amazon implemented a policy mandating the relocation of certain employees from branch offices to headquarters in larger cities.

Amazon has 1.4 million employees globally, but it is unclear how many are based in traditional offices instead of its numerous warehouses and other locations.