Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has informed his employees in a memo of the return-to-office policy and thus, they will be required to report to the office at least three days per week starting May 1, 2023, with some exceptions. Jassy highlighted in the memo that being in the office most of the time fosters a better learning environment, collaboration, and team connectivity. The company had previously left the decision to individual team leaders. The decision to return to the office aligns with Jassy’s earlier stance that invention is harder to achieve virtually.

Tech Companies’ Return-to-Office Decisions

Amazon’s return-to-office decision follows similar decisions by other tech companies. Apple requires employees to come in three days a week, while Google expects most staff to be in the office three days a week. Microsoft offers hybrid workplace flexibility. Zillow Group, however, is leaning into a work-from-home model, and the company’s flexible work policy has decreased voluntary attrition while increasing its job candidate pool.

Remote and Hybrid Work Policies during the Pandemic

The remote and hybrid work policies adopted during the pandemic have upended traditional notions of where and how people work. Amazon had gone on a hiring spree during the pandemic to help meet demand, but the company laid off 18,000 employees, or 5% of its corporate workforce, last year and into 2023, which impacted 2,300 people in the Seattle region.

Amazon’s Return-to-Office Decision and Its Impact

Amazon’s decision to return to the office could help boost the recovery of small businesses, arts organizations, and commercial markets in Seattle, Virginia, Nashville, and other regions. The company employs 75,000 people in the Seattle region, many of them corporate and tech workers, as part of its workforce of 1.54 million people worldwide, including warehouse workers.

The Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) President Jon Scholes called Amazon’s decision “terrific news,” saying that “Downtown’s largest employer bringing people to the heart of the city is music to the ears of small businesses and arts organizations.” The decision will also stabilize commercial markets and accelerate the return of retail, restaurants, and other commercial office tenants, according to Joe Fain, CEO of the Bellevue Chamber.