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Amazon Employees Get Greater Hybrid Work Flexibility

‘Like all companies and organizations around the world, we’re managing every stage of this pandemic for the first time, learning and evolving as we go,’ the Seattle-based Amazon said today.

Amazon is providing employees more flexibility for hybrid work schedules as the coronavirus pandemic subsides, giving them the option to work remotely for two days per week while requiring them to spend at least three days per week in the office.

“Like all companies and organizations around the world, we’re managing every stage of this pandemic for the first time, learning and evolving as we go,” the Seattle-based Amazon said today in its latest update of its return-to-office guidance. “We’ve been thinking about how to balance our desire to provide flexibility to work from home with our belief that we invent best for customers when we are together in the office.”

Under AWS’ new “baseline” in-office requirement, the specific days of the week will be determined by an employee’s leadership team.

“If you would like to work in the office less than three days a week and are still able to commute into your assigned office as needed, you can apply for an exception from your (vice president),” AWS said. “If the exception is approved, you will be considered primarily a remote worker and will have an agile workspace — not a dedicated one — that provides space to collaborate with your team.”

Corporate employees for whom working away from the office is an “effective option” will be able to work fully remotely for up to four weeks per year from a domestic location without the need to commute into an office during that period.

“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 said. “We look forward to more learning and listening with this updated guidance and will continue to evolve as we do.”

Employees in roles such as sales and customer service who mostly were working remotely before the coronavirus pandemic can continue to do so, while those in roles that require onsite work — such as hardware engineers and frontline operations employees — must continue to work on-site.

“For roles where there are periods that being remote would be most effective — e.g. SDEs (software development engineers) mostly coding where they don’t need to collaborate much with colleagues — we know that Amazonians will do the work from where it will yield the best result for customers,” Amazon said.

Amazon’s new hybrid work policy relaxes its guidance from March 30, when it gave employees an update on what it expected to happen after June 30. At the time, Amazon said it would return to “an office-centric culture as our baseline.”

“We believe it enables us to invent, collaborate and learn together most effectively,” Amazon said at the time, noting it expected U.S. employees to start coming into the office through summer with most back by early fall.

Google, meanwhile, in May said it expects some 60 percent of Googlers to spend a few days per week in the office, 20 percent to work in new office locations and another 20 percent to work from home. Similarly, IBM told employees this week that employees can prepare to return to the office starting the week of Sept. 7 and was working on rules for those are fully vaccinated.

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