Monday, December 4, 2023

Amazon Employees Returning to Offices

Jane Thier (via Hacker News):

Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, reportedly told members in an internal meeting that when it comes to returning to the office, “it’s time to disagree and commit. We’re here, we’re back—it’s working,” he said. “I don’t have data to back it up, but I know it’s better.”


Disgruntled Amazon workers likely saw this coming. This time last year, Jassy said Amazon had no plans for a compulsory office return and instead intended to “proceed adaptively.” That sentiment didn’t last, and Jassy soon joined peers Elon Musk and Sundar Pichai in their pro-office enthusiasm, mandating an office return earlier this year (the company does have an exception request process that’s considered on a case-by-case basis).


Amazon spokesperson Rob Munoz told Fortune that the company has been happy with how the return to office has gone since Amazon mandated it earlier this year: “There’s more energy, collaboration, and connections happening, and we’ve heard this from lots of employees and the businesses that surround our offices.”

Greg Iacurci (via Hacker News):

The share of workers being called back to the office has flatlined, suggesting the pandemic-era phenomenon of widespread remote work has become a permanent fixture of the U.S. labor market, economists said.

“Return to the office is dead,” Nick Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University and expert on the work-from-home revolution, wrote this week.


Research has shown that the typical worker equates the value of working from home to an 8% pay raise.

However, the work-from-home trend isn’t just a perk for workers. It has been a profitable arrangement for many companies, economists said.


Update (2023-12-11): Jane Thier (via Hacker News):

Bolstered by Daco’s four-point explanation, the new BLS data puts to rest the idea that where work happens is consequential in the productivity debate. Experts have maintained that exact point for years.

Evidence of productivity differences between remote and in-person work isn’t black and white, Daco says; there’s a “huge diffusion” of gains and losses. “I don’t know if return-to-office policies have had much of an effect one way or another, because the arguments are clear both ways,” he adds. “It really depends on the culture and the reasoning behind the [policies].”

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