Amazon CEO, Andy Jassy, has issued a memo instructing corporate employees to spend at least three days per week in the office, beginning May 1st.
This marks a change from the company’s previous policy of leaving the decision of how often employees should be in the office up to individual managers. Jassy and the S-team, Amazon’s group of senior executives, made the decision after determining that it would benefit the company’s culture and workers’ ability to learn from and collaborate with each other.
Jassy acknowledged that the transition back to the office would not be easy, as it is challenging to bring thousands of employees back to the office around the world. Some exceptions to the rule will be made, such as for customer support roles, which will still have the option to work remotely.
Amazon is pushing for its employees to be in the office more frequently as it is undergoing a period of belt-tightening amid slowing sales and a worsening economic outlook. The company has initiated the largest layoffs in its history, affecting around 18,000 people, and has also implemented a corporate hiring freeze, as well as axing some experimental projects.
Jassy believes that there are benefits to working in the office, such as the ability to workshop ideas and innovate.
A lesser-known fact is that some of the best inventions have had their breakthrough moments from people staying behind in a meeting and working through ideas on a whiteboard, or walking back to an office together on the way back from the meeting, or just popping by a teammate’s office later that day with another thought,” he added.
Other companies, such as Google and Apple, have already required some of their employees to return to the office full time or for several days a week, while Disney began requiring hybrid employees to be in the office four days a week in January.