Amazon delays return to office work until 2022 at the earliest

Other Big Tech companies, however, still want workers in this autumn

Amazon has delayed staff returning to its offices around the world from September this year to January 2022, as the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus continues to spread.

“As we continue to closely watch local conditions related to COVID-19, we are adjusting our guidance for corporate employees in the U.S. and other countries where we had previously anticipated that employees would begin coming in regularly the week of Sept. 7,” the online bazaar said on Thursday. “We are now extending this date to Jan. 3, 2022. Our return-to-office timeline will vary globally in accordance with local conditions.”

The pandemic has changed the way we work. Gone are the days where we need to commute into the office and work at our desks next to our colleagues. Recent surveys show that most people prefer working from home and don’t want to go back to the office much, if at all.

Amazon knows this, and is offering most of its employees the choice to work up to two days a week from home when its offices reopen next year. Those in sales or customer service roles, who worked remotely before the pandemic will continue to do so.

Hardware engineers, however, will be required to go into the office to better collaborate with members of their team. It’s a mix for software engineers: they’ll be able to work remotely some of the time but will occasionally have to go to the Amazon campus for meetings and so on.

Other major tech corps that have also announced delayed office returns are more keen to get their workers back in. Apple and Google have only pushed back their return dates by a month, from September to October. Facebook appears to be staying on track to reopening some time in autumn and said employees will have to prove they have been vaccinated if they want to return to their desks.

Microsoft has opted for a “soft open” – people can go into its main HQ in Redmond, Washington, if they want and its office is only operating at 25 per cent capacity. Salesforce has also adopted a similar approach. Meanwhile, Twitter closed its offices in San Francisco and New York again, shortly after it reopened them. ®

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