Amazon pushes return to office to 2022 as Covid cases surge

The Seattle-based company has postponed the date to January 3, from its earlier guidance of September 7

Amazon said it will offer its staff a mix of working between the office and home. AP
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Amazon is postponing the date for corporate workers to return to the office until early next year.

The Seattle-based company had previously said its employees should come back by September 7, but has pushed that date back to January 3.

Amazon has become the latest tech firm to delay re-opening its offices amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, primarily due to the highly contagious Delta variant.

“As we continue to closely watch local conditions related to Covid-19, we are adjusting our guidance,” Amazon said in a statement on Thursday.

“We will continue to follow local government guidance and work closely with leading medical healthcare professionals, gathering their advice and recommendations as we go forward to ensure our work spaces are optimised for the safety of our teams,” Amazon said.

The postponement will affect hundreds of thousands of Amazon's corporate employees working globally and nearly 60,000 workers at its offices in Seattle and Bellevue in Washington.

It does not pertain to warehouse and delivery staff that make up the vast majority of Amazon's more than 1.3 million full- and part-time employees globally.

Amazon has said it eventually expects white-collar staff to work from the office three days a week, leaving them with the option of working remotely up to two days a week.

Employees not required to be physically present in the office can also work up to four weeks per year fully remotely, the company said.

Unlike other tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft, Amazon will not require employees to be vaccinated before returning to the office, chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said last month.

But Amazon will require unvaccinated staff to wear masks in the office.

The surge in Delta infections has driven many firms to postpone re-opening plans. Wells Fargo, the biggest US bank in terms of headcount, said it is delaying its staggered office return from September 7 to October 4.

Investment giant Blackrock is pushing its return date to October 1, delayed by nearly a month.

Last week, Google extended its work-from-home policy until October 18 and said anyone coming to work on its campuses must be vaccinated.

On Monday, Facebook said it requires employees to wear masks on its campuses in the US, regardless of vaccination status.

The new policy will remain until further notice, the company said. The mandatory mask policy came into effect a week after the company announced it requires all of its US workers returning to its offices to be vaccinated.

Last week, Twitter closed its New York and San Francisco offices just two weeks after re-opening them.

Updated: August 06, 2021, 1:08 PM