After nearly 18 months spent largely working from home, Amazon’s tech workers are increasingly seeing the appeal of spending more time in the office, according to data from an internal Amazon survey conducted this summer seen by The Seattle Times.
The survey results indicate that despite an Amazon announcement Monday that it plans to give managers leeway to permit their teams to work remotely indefinitely, plenty of the commerce giant’s 60,000 tech and corporate workers in the Puget Sound region plan to resume commuting to the office some days each week once coronavirus caseloads fall.
Only 3% of the roughly 46,000 Amazon tech employees surveyed in 2021 want to return full time to the office, down from 8% last year. But the sheen of working from home is also wearing off: In 2020, 29% of Amazon workers said they wanted to work remotely all the time. This year only 16% of workers said they were interested in full-time remote work.
Reflecting an emerging corporate consensus around hybrid work, the overwhelming majority of Amazon’s tech workers said they wanted some combination of remote and in-office work, with the plurality — 37% — saying they’d prefer to be in the office one to two days a week. An additional 27% of workers said they’d like to work mainly remotely but have regular in-person meetups with their teams, and 18% responded that they prefer to work mostly in the office but with occasional remote days.
Like many other companies, Amazon’s return-to-office guidelines have shifted amid rising coronavirus case counts caused by the virulent delta variant.
In March, Amazon had said it planned on a “return to an office-centric culture” where workers would be back in their offices by autumn. The company loosened its guidelines this summer, saying it expected workers to be back in their offices two days a week.
Monday’s announcement was seen by some business owners and Amazon employees as a further relaxation of Amazon’s stance on remote work. The policy shift generated some dismay among downtown businesses that before the pandemic relied on foot traffic from the company’s workers commuting to Amazon offices in the Seattle area.
Amazon, meanwhile, has emphasized that its offices are long-term investments, despite some current variability in how employees are using them, and the company sees value in in-person collaboration, spokesperson Jose Negrete said in an email.