Remaking their January return to office plans, Amazon has made it known many of their corporate employees will work remotely—indefinitely. Amazon previously announced their office-based employees would need to be in the office at least three days a week to help maintain their work culture.
According to an email sent on Monday from Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, the decision of whether employees return, work remotely, or a combination of the two will be up to their team leaders at the director level.
Amazon wants most of their corporate workers close enough to their core teams that they can easily travel to the office for meetings within a day’s notice. Jassy noted how remote work for a few weeks at a time has been able to inspire and reenergize its employees. He stated, “We want to support this flexibility and will continue to offer those corporate employees, who can work effectively away from the office, the option to work up to four weeks per year fully remote from any location within your country of employment.”
This flexibility has led to a revolution of sorts with young professionals splitting their time in geographically appealing locations, creating a new kind of snowbird, possibly to the detriment of their corporate office-adjacent businesses.
This shift in policy has impacted the recovery of downtown Seattle as well. With over 75,000 employees in the Seattle area, Amazon is the city’s largest private employer. According to a Seattle Times article, Amazon occupies 19 percent of all prime office space in the city, more than any employer in a major U.S. city. With empty offices and employees working remotely, downtown businesses have been directly impacted, especially during the lunch hour.