Many tech and corporate workers at Amazon will be able to continue to work remotely indefinitely as long as they are able to commute to the office when necessary, according to a blog posted Monday.
The new policy is a change from Amazon's previous expectation that most employees would need to be in the office at least three days a week once offices reopen in January.
Monday's message, signed by Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, explains that Amazon directors – at Amazon, a title signifying an executive who oversees a handful of teams – will have the discretion to allow teams under their purview to stay remote.
"We expect that there will be teams that continue working mostly remotely, others that will work some combination of remotely and in the office, and still others that will decide customers are best served having the team work mostly in the office," Jassy wrote.
"We're intentionally not prescribing how many days or which days – this is for Directors to determine with their senior leaders and teams."
In the blog post, Jassy thanked Amazon employees who have been unable to work remotely during the pandemic "for their passion. It is highly appreciated."
Those workers include the vast majority of Amazon's more than 1 million employees worldwide, who work in the company's fulfillment and transportation division, as well as its AWS data center and physical retail employees.
Amazon's update to its return-to-work policy follows similar moves from other tech giants. Microsoft announced last month that it had postponed reopening its offices indefinitely; Google has said it anticipates roughly 20% of its workforce will continue to telecommute full-time.
Amazon's new stance on remote work is likely to ratchet up anxieties among South Lake Union business owners, who had been anticipating that foot traffic and revenues would rise once Amazon fully reopened its offices in the neighborhood next year.