back to article Amazon delays return to office work until 2022 at the earliest

Amazon has delayed staff returning to its offices around the world from September this year to January 2022, as the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus continues to spread. “As we continue to closely watch local conditions related to COVID-19, we are adjusting our guidance for corporate employees in the U.S. and other …

  1. Doctor Tarr

    Return to Office

    I've started to go back into the office and glad for it. We always had flexibility so were not full time in the office but a few days a week with my team have been great for collaboration.

    I imagine that if your role is task based then WFH is fine but when you're driving change in a business you really need to be with people.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Return to Office

      when you're driving change in a business you really need to be with people.

      What for?

      1. ITS Retired

        Re: Return to Office

        Eyeball to eyeball intimidation. Hard to do over Zoom. When you are driving change, even change for change sake, you need person to person contact, to better get your way.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Return to Office

          Plus knowing that you can force your minions to come into an office makes you feel like you are in control. Everything else you are responsible for might be going to hell in a hand basket but by God your staff are at their desks when you told them to be. You are da manwomanperson.

          A lot of managers also assume that 'at their desks' means 'doing good work'. This is probably because they lack the skills (or inclination) to correctly assess their underling's performance.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Return to Office

      > when you're driving change in a business

      What's all this, then?

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: Return to Office

        Bingo!

    3. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Return to Office

      It all depends on preferences, which rather a lot of people skirt around. Being able to have a quick chat with someone at a moment's notice is really only possible in an office environment. whether the necessity of a at a moment's notice is also debatable.

      1. Steve Button

        Re: Return to Office

        "really only possible in an office environment"

        That's really not the case. Someone can drop me a Slack or Teams message at a moment's notice. and if I'm not in the middle of something we can drop into a screen share. This really is possible.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Return to Office

          Not only is it very possible but it also gives you a filter. If you've got your head down on a problem you can just ignore the chat app until you come back up for air. But if you're in a communal office there's nothing you can practically do to prevent those annoying gitsyour co-workers from interrupting you with an ill-timed question. Or worse still being interrupted because you overhear them asking someone else a question.

          1. gandalfcn Silver badge

            Re: Return to Office

            Thanks for reinforcing my points

        2. Woodnag Silver badge

          Instant chat

          Yes, exactly how it works in my small group.

          However, if the group is disfunctional (B doesn't care that A is effective), then probably the least invasive way to get a response is to hover at the entrance to someone's cube. Which is NFG with WFH.

        3. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: Return to Office

          Not really. It means the meeting you erte in has to stop because pf your selfishness or you weren't really needed, which is the problem with mst meetings, they are just gabfests.

      2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: Return to Office

        Certainly not only possible in the office. It just needs a minor change of thinking. There's no need to throw up artificial barriers then say it's too hard and can't be done.

        Pinging someone with an IM is exactly the same as going over and tapping them on the shoulder. In both cases you can't see whether they are truly working or not, and the only way to know if they don't mind a quick chat is to ask.

        Sat typing does not always mean "working", and sat not typing does not always mean "not working". WFH hasn't changed that.

        1. ChrisC Silver badge

          Re: Return to Office

          "Pinging someone with an IM is exactly the same as going over and tapping them on the shoulder."

          I'd say the IM option is preferable to the shoulder tap (or even just the "hovering over your shoulder by the side of your desk) option, as personally I find it far easier to defer responding to an IM or similar until *I'm* ready to respond, whereas when there's someone stood next to you giving you puppy-dog eyes waiting for a response, the urge to respond to them ASAP is somewhat stronger...

          1. AndrueC Silver badge

            Re: Return to Office

            when there's someone stood next to you giving you puppy-dog eyes waiting for a response, the urge to respond to them ASAP is somewhat stronger...

            The urge to kick them is sometimes almost as strong in that scenario :D

      3. Plest Bronze badge

        Re: Return to Office

        I've chatted to way more people over MS Teams ( sorry, it's what we're given! ) while WFH than I ever did in the office. Trying to find someone 'cos they skulked off yet another meeting to avoid doing any real work, with Teams I just ping them and they either pop up immediately or come after their current meeting.

        I can't believe how productive my team is, we can quickly throw up meetings, whiteboard on chats and then head off to get stuff done. We get a serious problem and we're in a room in seconds looking into it.

    4. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Return to Office

      "...I imagine that if your role is task based then WFH is fine but when you're driving change in a business you really need to be with people..."

      Nice ego you have there. Reads more as "when you need to intimidate someone to get your own way"

      I've done many a project where driving change through is a requirement - by which I mean, driving change where it's generally opposed for various reasons. I've also found it is actually quite rare to have to force someone as opposed to explaining the situation/drivers/bigger picture, though yes, it isn't unheard of to have to say what amounts to "suck it up, buttercup - this is happening with or without you".

      Of course, sometimes face-to-face over a coffee with C level bods can be the best way forwards as well but again that tends to be rare.

      Teams works just as well (your choice of platform may vary) for those ad-hoc calls to replace the tap on the shoulder chats. I also find that meetings tend to run better over these as there tends to be:

      - Much less time wasted at the start of a meeting waiting for the multimedia screens to be connected to

      - Ditto waiting for people to dial in over the phone

      - It's far easier to mute people when they refuse to stay on track

      - Much easier to minute meetings as it can effectively be done in the chat or simply record the meeting if required.

      See my post last week about the kinds of boss - treat the people under you well, with respect and enable them to get on with their jobs and worry less about where/how/when they do it as opposed to their results and amazing things tend to come from it.

    5. Plest Bronze badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Return to Office

      Sorry, only one reasons some people want to go back, that's because it's nigh on impossible to look busy when WFH 'cos you actually have to get stuff done and show some results 'cos no one can see you 90% of the time. All those waste of space type of people who simply shuffle papers or run about looking busy will be first against the wall when the WFH HR reckoning comes and redundencies are made!

      One thing I found was the WFH put me in a mindset to actually get more done to prove my worth, to meet deadlines and deliver ahead of time where I can. I'm working harder, smarter and getting more done in less time than when I was in the office constantly wasting time chatting or drinking coffee.

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Double worst option

    > It’s a mix for software engineers: they’ll be able to work remotely some of the time but will occasionally have to go to the Amazon campus for meetings and so on

    Meetings are generally a waste of everyone's time (apart from when organised by those few, rare, managers who actually know how to run a meeting). They are also one of the easiest things to perform from home. So to force IT staff to spend extra time commuting to do something that is almost always pointless takes away twice from their productivity

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Double worst option

      So to force IT staff to spend extra time commuting

      They don't want to have engineers to have time for side projects, because that creates risk of them leaving and even worse, creating a competition.

    2. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Double worst option

      "apart from when organised by those few, rare, managers who actually know how to run a meeting)" I had one of those once. when he announced he was the company I followed suit.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prepare for more variants

    Delta variant soars, hospitals in Florida make it compulsary that their staff be vaccinated, Republican Governor DeSantis announces he wants to ban hospitals from requiring their staff be vaccinated... FFS.

    Can we start labelling these variants by their primary infection vector?

    "Desantis variant killed another 1000 Floridians today, this variant spread because Republican Governor Desantis wanted to get re-elected and needed the wackadoodle vote, so he took steps to ensures a deadly disease would spread through Florida State and kill his people."

    "Desantis spread through hospitals where it could kill sick people and through nursing homes where it could kill old retired people and via schools, where little Johnney Applepie spread the Desantis sickness to his home with Desantis killing his mom and grandpa, and Grandma being sick in hospital with a limited chance of survival, Desantis shredding her already weakened lungs making every breath a painful reminder of the Governors handiwork."

    Yeh, label it the "Desantis" variant.

    Tens of thousands of obituraries, saying " They died of the Desantis variant" and suddenly he'll stop this political shit and do his duty to his people.

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Desantis variant.

      In the UK this is already known as the Johnson variant.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Prepare for more variants

      Are you 100% sure that's how the egos of politicians work?

    3. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Prepare for more variants

      What is also amazing is when those mourning a dead Covid denier or anti-vaxxer bleat "this was so unexpected." " 'His family are devastated," "has tragically died.", "“devastating news that our beloved friend, Stephen Harmon has passed away from Covid. Heartbreaking.”"

      The tragic and heartbreaking is that peo0le believed them and allowed, even encouraged them to spread their lies and the virus.

    4. FloridaBee

      Re: Prepare for more variants

      As a FL resident who has long despised this tin-pot dictator wanna-be, I've been brought to the conclusion that he honest to God does not care about the deaths and injuries that are the ongoing results of his policies. He is too invested in wooing a disgusting segment of our population in his bid for higher office (not gonna happen, loser!!!) and their support and financial contributions are all he cares about. While seniors in this state were still unable to gain access to vaccines, he was busily hosting "High Dollar Contributors Only" vax events in specified areas. This after months spent lashing out at public school teachers who were reluctant to return to their classrooms for fear of risk to their health or that of vulnerable family members from swarms of little plague vectors. (Not blaming the kids--they can't help it.) His insistence that the lowbrow must have the right to send their walking petri dishes to school unmasked so as to spread infection as far and wide as possible is just the latest in his insane attempts to kill off the population of our state.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Prepare for more variants

        “It’s so high in Florida that I think if Florida were another country, we would have to consider banning travel from Florida to the United States.”

        But its OK, prayers and the bible will sort everything out..

        what is interesting is that a lot of Republicans are at long last coming out of the woodwork and telling the truth about Trump, DeSantis et al. i.e. the mafiosa.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It'll be a long time

    It'll be a long time before I see the inside of our office again. Treated like a leper on arrival. Told where to walk and sit like a child. Don't touch anything. No catering or other facilities. Stuck alone at a desk. Have to wear a muzzle in common areas. No thank you.

    (Anon, cos everyone seems to have become paranoid, antisocial germophobes, and think this is all wonderful. No, I'm not anti-vax. No, I don't deny there is a pandemic. But we can't live and work like this forever, which is how the zero-risk crowd seem to want us to end up)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: It'll be a long time

      You are the problem. It will nit be forever only until enough people are vaccinated or have immunity, but lets not have facts getting in the way of ..........

      "the zero-risk crowd" I don't think you'l find many of those, other than in certain people's fevered imagination, encouraged by certain politicians.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It'll be a long time

        I'm absolutely not the problem. I'm fully vaccinated, and, unlike some, don't consider wearing a dirty rag on my face gives me a free pass to socialise and spread the virus by a dozen other vectors. I'm quite happy to WFH and avoid social contact *while the virus is prevalent*.

        My worry (and it's a personal worry, not an assertion that everyone else is wrong), is that masks and social distancing *is not normal*, and *must not become normal*. There certainly are people, some of whom I know personally, who are suggesting that mask wearing and social distancing is a good thing, and should continue even after the virus is gone. These are the people (and it only needs a few), who will persuade risk-averse corporations to continue with this hygiene theatre indefinitely, "just in case".

    3. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: It'll be a long time

      I love how these people espouse such strong viewpoints, insisting their way is the only way and everyone else is completely wrong, yet choose to remain anonymous.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OH REALLY??

    You can be like most of the people in my neighborhood are, walk around unmasked, resist vaccination, pretend there isn't a Pandemic, act like everything is fine, but it's not, or you can wear a mask in public areas to protect yourself from others and keep them protected from you, get vaccinated, and strengthen your immune system to combat and end this Pandemic.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: OH REALLY??

      Sadly, far too many people seem to think wearing a mask and getting a jab is somehow a massive state overreach that vastly impinges upon their personal freedoms.

      And don't even get them started on how masks and vaccines can not only protect them, but also others around them. The very notion of doing something that, by side-effect, protects others seems to evoke frothing, rabib rage.

      Strange. Very strange.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: OH REALLY??

        Interestingly the most libertarian scholars maintain the mask and caxx mandates are fully in line with the US Constitution. but then the Trump/GOP and supporters don't nw very much about the Constitution, as they have been proving for the last few years.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only WFH for me...

    YMMV.

  7. msobkow Bronze badge

    Only our shipping slaves have to come in; we don't care about them. Those of us on the boards and in the offices are nice and safe, working from home. :(

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      More that the shipping people can't work from home but you probably can. If things are bad enough that they shouldn't be working, the company can choose to postpone shipping. If things are not quite that bad, they can ensure the conditions are as safe as possible for the shipping people which includes not having several extra possible infection vectors who don't have to be there. Once the risk is low enough, you can all come back if you want and the shipping people will still have to be there.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I switched to WFH before lockdowns began entirely to protect the warehouse staff.

      I can do my job from home, they can't, so I asked to keep my potentially disease-ridden meatsack away from the people who actually ship the boxes that pay my wages.

      Mostly because I like them, but also because I also like getting paid - that only happens reliably if the company is shipping product.

      Manglement agreed, for the same reasons.

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Delayed until 2022

      They'll need that extra time in order to build a few temporary toilets for the drones that pick the orders. I say temporary because the human drones will be replaced by robots as soon as Kapitan Bezos can make it so.

  8. Imkrys

    Amazon delays return to work

    I'm confused. Is Amazon expecting praises stopping the spread with safety of corporate employees or how they discriminate warehouse employees still reporting to work daily? This story did not sound like the warehouse would stay home till next year.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: Amazon delays return to work

      Rampant abuse of their warehouse staff and abject failure to protect them from COVID effectively is yesterday's news. Amazon may be hoping most have forgotten that and will now get all warm and fuzzy over this latest corporate largess.

  9. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Really?

    Has anyone told the guys in the Amazon Prime trucks and the shoppers at Whole Foods? They aren't in the office, but they certainly aren't working from home.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      Title of article is "Amazon delays return to office work until 2022 at the earliest".

  10. Mr. Skeezix

    Terminating employees over vaccination status in the US is still illegal so workers who don't vaccinate are incentivized, being allowed fulltime work from home while their vaccinated peers must return to the office. This makes no sense if we want to incentivize vaccination.

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