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Amazon employees really aren’t happy at being told to go back to the office

Amazon workers are furious about CEO Andy Jassy’s recent decision to implement a return-to-office (RTO) mandate, and are reportedly making their feelings publicly known.

Jassy explained that employees are more likely to collaborate better in person and that ad-hoc conversations and learning don’t happen as effectively over the Internet as they do in real life.

However following his announcement, a Slack channel was created for workers to share their dissatisfaction, amassing almost 14,000 users to date (via CNBC), with a further petition also reportedly circulating around the company.

Amazon RTO

Before the announcement, the company’s most up-to-date decision was over a year old and allowed managers and teams to decide the most suitable working method appropriate to their own areas and needs.

According to Business Insider, an informal survey in the Slack channel saw around 80% of the members say that they’d consider finding alternative employment if they were forced to return to the office.

A petition has since been created urging Jassy and members of the senior leadership team to reconsider the move, highlighting several key areas of concern.

It notes an increase in worker productivity when working remotely, as backed up by an internal survey carried out last year that found 93% of workers were able to focus well at home, compared with 68% in the office.

Workers also prefer having the choice of location and whether they head into the office on specific days, and the improved work-life balance that comes with the added flexibility.

The disgruntled workers also reminded Amazon of its ability to save money by reducing expenses related to office costs, along with their own savings in terms of travel. They expressed the benefit to Amazon of hybrid working, which allows the company to hire a broader spectrum of people and ultimately curate the best and most talented workforce.

Finally, they claim that office-centric work puts a disadvantage on parents, minorities, and disabled people.

An extract from the petition (via Business Insider) reads:

“We ask Amazon leadership to uphold Amazon’s mission to be Earth’s Best Employer by creating working policies that increase equity and inclusion for all employees.”

While Big Tech is starting to turn back on its decision to enable home working, including Google and Apple, it’s clear that the future of the working setup remains to be challenged as we recover from many of the effects of the pandemic.

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