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Amazon Defends Decision to Require Employees in the Office 3 Days a Week

Saturday February 18, 2023. 04:34 PM , from Slashdot
The Washington Post reports that Amazon has over 1 million workers worldwide — and they want most of them to be back in the office at least three days a week:
In a note to employees, chief executive Andy Jassy said that the length of the pandemic had given senior managers time to observe what workplace models work best. They concluded that being in person most of the time had distinct benefits, allowing employees to more easily share ideas, collaborate, train new hires and connect. 'Invention is often sloppy. It wanders and meanders and marinates,' Jassy wrote. 'Serendipitous interactions help it, and there are more of those in-person than virtually.'
Amazon is just the latest major company to adopt some version of a return-to-work policy that requires workers to show up at the office for a certain number of days. Walt Disney Co. recently told its staffers to appear in the office four days a week. The Washington Post requires workers based in D.C. to report to headquarters three days a week....
Earlier this month, data tracked by Kastle Systems said 50 percent of workers were now back at their desks — and some experts think that's as high as it will go.

GeekWire notes that Apple has already asked employees to come in three days a week, something Google also expects from most of its staff. GeekWire's article adds that local business organizations applauded Amazon's move, with the Bellevue Chamber, calling it 'extraordinary news for the health and vitality in downtown.' And the site also reports the various reasons Amazon's senior executives gave for favoring employees-in-the-office at least three days a week:
'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.'
'Collaborating and inventing is easier and more effective when we're in person. The energy and riffing on one another's ideas happen more freely.'
'Learning from one another is easier in-person. Being able to walk a few feet to somebody's space and ask them how to do something or how they've handled a particular situation is much easier than Chiming or Slacking them.'
'Teams tend to be better connected to one another when they see each other in person more frequently.'

That thinking doubles down on a mindset that Jassy expressed before he took over as CEO in 2021 from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Jassy said in March 2021 that 'invention' is hard to do virtually compared to people brainstorming together in person. 'You just don't riff the same way,' he said at the time, 'so it's really changed the way that we've had to think about how we drive innovation, and how we solicit information from our builders and the types of meetings that we run.'

Jassy said there will be a small minority of exceptions to the new return-to-office requirement and that Amazon plans to implement the change effective May 1.
The move takes effect May 1st.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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