Amazon employees are fighting it out about the company’s planned return to the office in Slack channels, according to Insider.
First, employees created a Slack channel to fight against the policy. Then, a pro-office return group was formed, the outlet reported.
Amazon announced on February 17 that it had “conclude[d] that we should go back to being in the office together the majority of the time (at least three days per week),” said CEO Andy Jassy in a message to employees. The policy takes effect in May.
Amazon workers who had grown used to the company’s more flexible in-office work models began to “spam” a company messaging platform about the change in frustration, according to CNBC.
“By arbitrarily forcing return-to-office without providing data to support it and despite clear evidence that it is the wrong decision for employees, Amazon has failed its role as earth’s best employer,” one employee wrote, according to the report.
Others were concerned about finding childcare or having to move to another city. One person wrote that their new car had a mile limit of 16,000 a year; they leased it considering a lack of commute. Per CNBC, “remote advocacy” became a common Slack channel status.
However, some people who welcomed a return to office life fought back, Insider reported.
Over 700 people joined a pro-return-to-office group. Its description says employees need to “Think Big” about the return to office policy. (By comparison, the pro-working remotely channel has around 28,000 members.)
“I look forward to the prospect of seeing more of my coworkers in the office,” one person reportedly wrote in the channel. Another said that the company should try out the four-day workweek and swap out the remote-flexible schedule. Another message links to a 2021 article in the Harvard Business Review called: “Why You May Actually Want to Go Back to the Office.”
Amazon has about 1.5 million workers around the world and tens of thousands of corporate workers. In the fall of 2021, the company said that its remote and hybrid work policies would be left up to various teams without any deadlines for going back, per the New York Times.
But that was a different era for Amazon, which has since seen its stock fall by approximately 40%, amid other industry headwinds — particularly a slowdown in pandemic-era high-demand areas like e-commerce. Amazon has also since conducted layoffs.
Other tech companies including Twitter, Google, and Apple have also called some or all workers back to the office.
“It’s easier to learn, model, practice, and strengthen our culture when we’re in the office together most of the time and surrounded by our colleagues,” Jassy said in the February message.