A hot potato: Few companies implementing a return-to-work policy have faced as much pushback from employees as Amazon. But then the tech giant isn't taking a gentle approach to getting staff back into the office. A new report claims that Amazon has now essentially given managers the power to fire any employees who fail to turn up at one of its locations at least three times per week.
Insider reports that Amazon has issued updated manager guidance on the company's return-to-work policy, sharing guidelines and talking points through an internal portal this week.
Returning to the office at least three times per week has been a contentious issue for Amazon's corporate workers. The original announcement resulted in an employee petition, which was resoundingly rejected, and it was one of the reasons behind a walkout later in the year. Adding fuel to the fire was another policy introduced in July that requires some corporate workers to relocate to other cities.
For those workers refusing to return, managers have been instructed to first hold private conversations, documenting the conversation in a follow-up email.
If the person still refuses to agree to the hybrid working setup, the manager should hold another meeting within one to two weeks to explain that disciplinary action will be taken if the defiance continues. This includes terminating the employee's contract.
Amazon has made no secret of what could happen to employees who refuse to return. CEO Andy Jassy recently told staff it was past the time to disagree with the mandate and commit. For those who don't, "it's probably not going to work out for you at Amazon."
Jassy said earlier this year that Amazon made several observations during the pandemic when teams moved to home or hybrid work models. The company claims that it is easier to learn, model, practice, and strengthen its culture when employees are in the office together. Amazon also says traditional working practices make collaborating and inventing easier, and learning from colleagues is better done in person.
Amazon isn't the only company telling workers to come back or leave. Roblox, a company that is all about virtual worlds and even has its own in-game recruiting platform, recently gave staff the same ultimatum, while Elon Musk, who really seems to hate the concept of working from home, threatened his companies' workers with the same fate last year.