Amazon Embraces Hybrid Work

Posted on October 11, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Amazon with 7 Comments

Amazon now says that it will leave remote work decisions to individual team leaders after failing to establish a new post-pandemic policy that works for everyone. In short, Amazon is embracing hybrid work.

“We expect that there will be teams that continue working mostly remotely, others that will work some combination of remotely and in the office, and still others that will decide customers are best served having the team work mostly in the office,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy wrote in an email to employees that was viewed by GeekWire. “We’re intentionally not prescribing how many days or which days—this is for Directors to determine with their senior leaders and teams.”

Like other Big Tech firms, Amazon has struggled to find a back-to-the-office policy that works for all of its employees, and it has changed the date for that return repeatedly. But this new approach aligns nicely with the hybrid work claims that Microsoft recently made too.

GeekWire reported a few more interesting specifics from the Amazon email: the firm expects employees to live close enough to their teams that they can travel to the office within a day’s notice, and it will allow corporate employees to work remotely for up to four weeks per year from any location in their country of employment, assuming they can do so effectively.

Seems flexible and reasonable to me.

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Comments (7)

7 responses to “Amazon Embraces Hybrid Work”

  1. LT1 Z51

    This sounds like what Ford is doing. Each supervisor (now called people leaders) works with his employees to determine what works best for the group and individuals.

  2. krusador

    My boss fall of 2019: "You can only be productive while working in the office."


    My boss August of 2020, after I completed a major project, while working from home: "Fine, you can work from home from now on."


    p.s. I should note that my boss himself works from his Florida condo 6 months a year, and when he is in town, works from his house about 30% of the time.

  3. bluvg

    Finally, "as needed" sanity prevails! Assuming reasonable guiding principles, these decisions are much better handled down the chain instead of org-wide.

  4. red.radar

    I expect this to slowly unwind and head back to in-person only.


    It will happen like this. A scrappy startup that is nimble and flexible will start outmaneuvering the larger corporate Goliath. The first reaction will be. They are able to do this because they are a tight nit team and have efficient lines of communication. Quick... everyone on this special project must be in person and on site for a "Moonshot" effort. Moonshots increase in frequency... people just remain in office.


    Second issue... Damn books are getting tight... well its because we have this support staff to be the hands and feet for the development teams that remote work. Quick! dispense with this middle layer of help. Make the Engineers run their own tests. They will spin it as "voice of the customer" getting closer to the work so you can have the opportunity to observe directly the outcomes of the development.


    Final thought: Damn we really want to be in-person for reasons. Trying to do this through a simple public service announcement isn't working because of the few making a stink and inviting bad publicity. Directors, Find the squeaky wheels and apply grease. 2months later...RIF is announced. And well aint that weird.... we reduced our remote work footprint..Huh...I wonder how that happened. We love remote work! It was just a coincidence. Executive closes his ipad with magic keyboard while basking in the view of the beach...from his yacht anchored in the shallows. Oh look at that next meeting. Let me get another pina colada.


    I see this slowly eroding away.

  5. yaddamaster

    this is actually the worst possible outcome. Crappy managers will demand in-person. Good managers will know how to manage their people regardless. So you will have inconsistent and completely unpredictable work situations for people as managers/directors/vp's shift in and out.


    You may be working great remotely and your new directory is a tool and forces you to move.


    This is going to be chaos.......

    • wright_is

      Not just crappy managers will demand in person, even good managers can/will demand in person, when that is required for the team to operate smoothly - whether it be fixed days in the week/month or full time.


      Some roles are easier to move into home office than others.


      We are currently 50% in the office, on a rotating basis. You get much more information about what is going on when you are physically in the office, you overhear conversations and can inject useful information or you hear about something you didn't know was happening.


      On the other hand, in home office, you can sometimes get more done.

  6. JerryH

    With this way up at the Director level it is hardly at a team level. I know that is Amazon spinning it to make it sound like it is a team level, but their own wording (the Director working with their senior leaders) shows how high up the decision really is. Fortunately, my company actually did (at least for IT) push it down to the team level. My team (of around 12 people in a company of 60,000) decided the office is only for "as needed" (typically to work on physical hardware).

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