back to article Amazon's latest directive: Report to the office 'cos we're watching you

Amazon has contacted staff it says are not clocking into the office three days a week "even though your assigned building is ready," according to a leaked memo which warns them they're falling short of expectations. Unhappy recipients forwarded the missive to the Financial Times, while still others sent screenshots of internal …

  1. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge


    Just reading this article gives me something akin to PTSD, remembering my time there.

    3 months of doing nothing much but learning and drinking the kool-aid, 6 months of an amazing project - followed by 9 months of hell. Trying to get to 2 years, somehow, for the stock options, but had to bail or face months of therapy (which is what happened to a coworker, who stuck it out and had to spend months getting mental health treatment). The lowest rated manager was put in charge of the team, after the 2 *highest* rated ones were driven out and the regional manager bailed in disgust after a mere 4 or 5 months. I went from getting cheered and accoladed to being put on a PIP in 4(!) weeks, just as a result of that "civil war".

    With the good people leaving - or getting laid off - what's left must increasingly be a sediment layer of sociopathy, looking more like late Western Rome or Byzantium, in its internecine warfare and backstabbing, while waving their previous, weaponised "leadership principles" around like a Labarum. (yes, I've been reading A.Goldsworthy's Fall of Rome, why do you ask? ;) )

    Was thinking of posting this anonymously, but no, I'm leaving my name on this. You can get fucked, Amazon/AWS!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: PTSD

      There are some Amazon offices near me. If I were to apply for a position they might even offer me a job, but as everything I've read says it's like a toxic hellhole only without the "like", I'm not going to even try. This post just is just yet more proof of that.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: PTSD

        I really must stop being so lazy and start using other retailers.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: PTSD

      what's left must increasingly be a sediment layer of sociopathy

      Looks like they have learnt all the wrong lessons from how Motorola used to do it (don't know if they still do). One of the loathed features - if you manager was bad at politics or arguing your case in the rankings and rating meetings, you were never, ever, ever going to get promoted, no matter how well you did your job.

      And the whole 'internal competition' thing where you were encouraged to 'compete' with all your peers - which lead to mistrust, backstabbing and outright sabotage of other peoples projects.

      I lasted almost 2 years there before I'd had enough of the lies, lack of career and outright corruption of the place and went to be a contractor.

  2. Arty Effem

    No results from those who contacted their manager after presumably getting the email in error.

    If you can count up to three and think you received this email in error, ask yourself how it could have happened given that we use one of those computer thingies to record your clocking in/out.

    1. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

      Honestly I can't believe how dumb this communication is!

      Never send out targeted emails like this. If you have real proof one individual has violated policy you deal with that with HR PRIVATELY!

      You send out a global email re-stating the policy, you can infer that "some" people are not adhering to the policy.

      Those who are following the policy will see this email and react with "well, this doesn't apply to me." Those who are not will react with "oh, how do they know, are they monitoring us? Maybe I'd better start following the policy!"

      I can only guess that either 1) Amazon has really, really bad HR people, or 2) no one consulted HR before sending out these emails.

      1. YetAnotherXyzzy

        Those who are following the policy will see this email and react with "well, this doesn't apply to me."

        I've never worked at Amazon, but I have at another "too big to do anything right" organization. Whenever I and my co-workers got a message like that and we had been complying with a disliked policy, our conclusion was often "oh, an admission that others don't comply and get away with it". Such messaging made us less, not more, likely to comply. Which is why Cliffwilliams44 is right: the way to deal with noncompliance is privately, not broadcasting that there's a compliance problem.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        1) Amazon has really, really bad HR people, or 2) no one consulted HR before sending out these emails

        Or both. No real incentive for them to have either good HR or to talk to them. Staff turnover is so high (particularly among the lower grades) that HR seems to be relagated to just a 'hire and fire' team.

        Besides which, we all know that HR purely exists to protect the company from the staff.

  3. abend0c4 Silver badge

    They're not helping their case...

    We previously shared

    you can feel the surge in energy and collaboration

    We are reaching out

    you are not currently meeting our expectation

    ... unless it's a deliberate exercise to reduce head count.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: They're not helping their case...

      It's a decent opportunity for some more enlightened employers to pick up the best people.

  4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    "desk occupancy rates need to improve."

    "desk occupancy rates need to improve."

    Why? Can you show productivity improvements when people are at a desk in the office? In all the stories on enforced return to office, I've not seen a single quote from any employer that shows the evidence or metrics proving their case other then "we want to see you chained to the desk"

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: "desk occupancy rates need to improve."

      "we want to see you chained to the desk"

      It's the whole MBA-led management power-trip. Like the 'I must be first into the office and last to leave' nonsense - I'd rather work less hours and get all my tasks done than spend 18 hours in the office and *still* not get everything done because I'm too tired/stressed out/medicated to get everything done.

  5. jvf


    "freed them up to focus on more sophisticated tasks beyond the scope of automation" what the hell does that even mean?

    1. My-Handle

      Re: ???

      It means they get to sweep the stairs and fiddly corners that the Roomba can't get to.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is all about IT headcount reductions over the coming year, starting next quarter. This is not specific to any industry. They just want numbers down. They don't care who or what.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      They just want numbers down

      All to pander to stock-market short-term thinking: "we must improve/retain our stock price, even if it harms us in a years time!"

      At least the C-suite will get their annual bonuses and everyone else gets shafted.

  7. Kane

    Surge in Energy and Collaboration

    You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

  8. David Nash

    Translation please.

    "In the US, on the other hand, employee monitoring is totally legal – even in the federal law the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, one of the charges you'll often see brought against criminals who break into systems."

    What is the second part of this sentence trying to say? That Criminals are charged with monitoring employees?

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