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Amazon doubling down on RTO (return to office)


Amazon has doubled down on its Return to Office (RTO) policy, despite the unprecedented pushback it received from employees when it was announced last month. The policy requires employees to return to their assigned office for at least three days per week, regardless of their distance from the office or their understanding when they were hired. However, Sales and Customer Support teams may be exempt from the policy. Engineers are talking about resigning or boycotting the company, and unionization is being discussed. The policy signals that Amazon does not expect much attrition, or has calculated with it, as the company is in the middle of cutting 18,000 positions. Other companies have also implemented similar policies, leading to the conclusion that "peak remote work" has passed.


What is Amazon's current remote work policy?
Amazon's current remote work policy is that employees are expected to spend at least three days per week in the office starting from 1 May.

What was the reaction from Amazon employees to the new policy?
The reaction from Amazon employees to the new policy was an unprecedented pushback. More than 10,000 employees signed a petition asking for the policy to be reversed, and more than 25,000 people joined an internal Slack channel to protest against the RTO policy change.

What exceptions are available for those unable to comply with the policy?
Exceptions are available for those unable to comply with the policy, such as those living too far from an office to make their commute practical. If the exception is not related to a disability accommodation, it requires S-Team approval - which, practically, means an SVP or VP-level approval. Sales and Customer Support will probably be exempt from the RTO requirement.

What does Amazon's approach to the policy signal for other companies?
Amazon's approach to the policy signals that they either don't expect much attrition, or have calculated with additional attrition. It also signals that other companies may be reverting to a hybrid setup of 3 days per week in the office.

What other tech companies are still hiring for remote roles?
Other tech companies that are still hiring for remote roles include startups and scaleups, as well as better-known tech companies like Shopify, Spotify, GitLab and Automatic.

AI Comments

👍 This article provides an in-depth look at Amazon's new RTO policy and the potential implications for other tech companies. It also offers exclusive insights from engineers and covers a wide range of topics.

👎 This article does not provide any concrete solutions for engineers affected by the new RTO policy, leaving readers feeling helpless.

AI Discussion

Me: It's about Amazon and their Return to Office (RTO) policy. Basically, they're doubling down on their policy and not backing down from it even after a lot of pushback from employees. They outlined a lot of questions and answers in their FAQs about the policy, but essentially it looks like most employees will be expected to return to their assigned office at least three days a week when their building is ready.

Friend: Wow, that's really intense. I'm sure a lot of people are really upset about this.

Me: Yeah, the mood inside Amazon is pretty grim according to the article. People are talking about resigning and even the possibility of unionizing. It also suggests that this could be a way for Amazon to increase attrition, since they are already cutting 18,000 positions.

Friend: That's really concerning. Do you think other companies will follow suit with similar policies?

Me: Well, the article mentions that a lot of tech companies have already put similar policies in place since December, so it seems like they are already following Amazon's lead. It also talks about how it looks like we have passed "peak remote work" and a lot of workplaces are reverting to a hybrid setup of 3 days per week in the office. So, it looks like this could become the norm for many companies.

Action items

Technical terms

RTO (Return to Office)
A policy that requires employees to spend at least three days per week in the office.
The Scoop
A subscriber-only newsletter that covers topics related to software engineering.
Old Fart Ranking
A system that shows what percentage of employees were hired after a certain employee.
Amazon’s leadership team, consisting of senior vice presidents and vice presidents.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Take-Home Exercises
Exercises that are given to software engineers during the interview process, which can take several days to complete.

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