Amazon said Monday it will allow many tech and corporate workers to continue working remotely indefinitely, as long as they can commute to the office when necessary.
The new policy was announced in a blog post and is a change from Amazon’s previous expectation that most employees would need to be in the office at least three days a week when offices reopen from the COVID-19 pandemic in January.
The Seattle Times reported Monday’s message was signed by Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and said company directors will have discretion to allow teams that they manage to continue working remotely.
“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,” Jassy wrote.
Most of the online retail giant's more than 1 million global employees cannot work remotely because they perform their duties in the company’s fulfillment and transportation division, grabbing orders and delivering them to customers.
But about 50,000 tech and office employees work at the company's sprawling headquarters downtown Seattle campus and in the city's South Lake Union neighborhood. Their absence will hurt nearby restaurants and other businesses.
Amazon’s update to its return-to-work policy followed similar moves from other big technology companies. Microsoft announced last month that it had postponed reopening its offices indefinitely.