back to article Amazon makes 850,000m2 bet that its people will get off the kitchen table and back to an office

Amazon will expand its presence in six US cities and add thousands of jobs in a bet that the COVID-19 pandemic will not keep workers out of the office for long. The company said on Tuesday that it will add 3,500 corporate jobs and almost 850,000 square metres of office space across its hubs in New York, Phoenix, San Diego, …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    1 in 6 corporate positions ?

    You'd think a guy like Bezos who apparently hates paying his employees would have less overhead.

  2. conel

    This could be about getting remote from Seattle more than a divergence from other tech companies regarding remote working.

  3. Dinanziame Bronze badge

    It's probably a good time to invest. Rents are falling in all big US cities, and you can probably find good deals if you happen to have the money.

  4. tony2heads
    Happy

    Why offices?

    Having worked from home for months I wonder why bother with offices. Occasional meet-ups would be nice, and some centralised tech support is needed, but hard worth a full-scale office that would have everyone inside.

    I also LOVE not having to sit in traffic

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why offices?

      I left the world of big corporateness 12 years ago, started on my own, working from the spare bedroom. Within a couple of weeks I started to wonder why corporate offices exist, and why I had spent the previous 20 years of my life commuting, sitting in traffic, and all that.

      Considering how much technology has evolved in 12 years, I am amazed that more businesses have not looked at this earlier. Any costs incurred by being at home all day (gas, electricity) are easily compensated by saving £40 a week on petrol and 2 hours each day of my life sitting in traffic.

      For many businesses it really should be a no brainer.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Why offices?

        Middle managers don't like it. They're incompetent and insecure, and feel better when they can watch their charges.

        1. Jason Hindle

          Re: Why offices?

          "Middle managers don't like it. They're incompetent and insecure, and feel better when they can watch their charges."

          I've seen the minds of some of those sceptics changed in recent months. To be fair to them, they were merely sceptical rather than insecure.

          That said, I'm looking forward to the option of going into the office once or twice a week (though maybe not in winter since I'm considering heading South).

        2. jacquesfrancis

          Re: Why offices?

          What, all of them? Are you sure about that?

          1. richardcox13

            Re: Why offices?

            In big organisations where middle management is heavily about office politics: a significant proportion.

            There are plenty of exceptions, but remember for many a step into management mostly shows it was a misstep, but organisational culture makes management the only route to senioriy.

      2. The Original Steve

        Re: Why offices?

        I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I really, really miss it.

        I usually work from a client's site Mon - Thu, staying overnight 3 nights a week in hotels, WFH on a Friday. I miss the diversity, engaging face to face with clients and colleagues and I actually miss the commute believe it or not. Time to ramp up for work or to unwind before seeing SWMBO and the kids is something I sorely miss to be honest. Actually making time to listen to a podcast or a radio show just doesn't seem possible to me when working from home like I am currently - I'm only using my ears so it's the perfect driving / commute task to do. I can't bring myself to sit away from the family for an hour or two just to listen to the radio.

        I recently joined an existing project that's been ongoing for over a year, and trying to get up to speed remotely has been a real struggle. The obvious social interactions such as a drink after work is one thing, but just spending 10 minutes by the water cooler / coffee machine / outside having a smoke can be surprisingly productive both directly and indirectly.

        Think I probably had the best of both worlds as the nature of the role means it's very diverse anyway, so there's a lot of getting up to speed on the latest project and meeting new clients - both of which are made easier face to face. Combined with a very small commute to/from a hotel and working from home on a Friday does make me somewhat more bias that most I guess.

        1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

          Re: Why offices?

          Actually making time to listen to a podcast or a radio show just doesn't seem possible to me when working from home like I am currently

          That's the one thing I've missed. Listening to a CD on the way in, another on the way home, I would work through my collection over a year. I have hardly listened to anything for years now.

          But, overall, the pros outweigh the cons, and I could never go back to regular office working or commuting.

          It is important to ensure home working doesn't turn into a simulation of incarceration in prison, especially if living on one's own. That's been difficult for some in recent months.

          1. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

            Re: Why offices?

            I see the pro- remote work benefits, but for me personally I like the separation of work and home that an office provides. While I do have space for a home office (unlike many people), I don't want to dedicate it to that solely - and I would need to so I could "leave" work instead of giving even more free time to my employer.

            I am fortunate that my commute is easy and less than 20 minutes 90+% of the time so that may bias my opinion. Just enough time to get into work mode going in and enough to shrug off the cares of the day before I walk into my house.

            Of course, this is selfish to some extent. The environmental costs of having to commute into a building that has to be maintained 24/7/365 in addition to your house with the same requirements adds up.

        2. Jason Hindle

          Re: Why offices?

          "I usually work from a client's site Mon - Thu, staying overnight 3 nights a week in hotels,"

          It's the travel I miss above all else, but that's been slowing down anyway. For a good few years, the winter months had a perfectly healthy habit of landing me with customers in the Southern Hemisphere.

          1. NeilPost Bronze badge

            Re: Why offices?

            Sounds like jetting around the Southern Hemisphere on a corporate expense account is ‘marginally better‘ than being on Southern Trains and then the London Underground..

            Who’d a thunk.

      3. osakajin Bronze badge

        Re: Why offices?

        Unless your commuting expenses are not that and you end up, like me, subsidising utility bills for your company. Lame.

        1. NeilPost Bronze badge

          Re: Why offices?

          Unless you walk to work a little extra utilities cost at home Will always be outweighed by the huge cost of fuel/train/bus/underground before you even talk about the waste of time effort and impact to mental health commuting is.

          With the screaming from the sandwich/cafe/restaurant sectors in big cities the amount of money they fleece from people forced to travel to work is also an additional huge cash benefit.

          Many employees (still working) will have had up to a 20% instant pay rise working from home.

          Paying some extra home costs is punching the gift horse in the mouth.

    2. rg287

      Re: Why offices?

      Occasional meet-ups would be nice, and some centralised tech support is needed, but hard worth a full-scale office that would have everyone inside.

      You've answered your own question.

      Meetings, tech support and storage (you can't expect your tech support to be giving over their homes to storage, workbenches or receiving pallets of new laptops at home), face-to-face interviews, on-boarding, off-boarding, training...

      Plus the people who just don't have a good home environment (no dedicated office space, working off the kitchen table with kids around, etc) and want to work in the office.

      In a large enough org that's enough to maintain footfall through the office even if many individuals only show their face once a fortnight or month.

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: Why offices?

        “No space at hone”??Wall Mounted Folding Desk.

        https://www.amazon.co.uk/Folding-Computer-Table-Drop-Leaf-Wall-Mounted/dp/B07ZM8QZ3W

        Or similar.

        1. rg287

          Re: Why offices?

          With the kids screaming through at 3.30pm when they get back from school?

          Some people live in flats with two bedrooms just large enough to get the actual bed in, a bathroom and the kitchen/diner/living-room. Have fun setting up a dual-monitor rig on the kitchen table, jostling for elbow space with your kids doing their homework, then clearing the lot away for tea.

          A folding desk doesn't solve that issue.

          Working from home is great. I'm doing it and long may it continue. But I also don't overlook the immense privilege I have in possessing a little office room where I can close the door and shut out the household.

    3. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

      Re: Why offices?

      No offices might be a problem for those who does not have experience yet.

      When you can’t just have a chat with someone who can help or give an advice might be difficult for many.

  5. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Tax relief

    For those of you that were not aware. You can claim around £6 a week tax relief backdated to when you started working from home. Not a lot but may help someone.

    https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/claim-tax-relief-expenses/who-claiming-for

    https://blog.moneysavingexpert.com/2020/04/martin-lewis--working-from-home-due-to-coronavirus--claim-p6-wk-/

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