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Amazon pitches a part-time return to the office as COVID restrictions ease

The company updates its return-to-work guidance to say that employees worldwide won't be expected to return to the office full-time as COVID lockdowns lift.

James Martin/CNET

Amazon issued updated return-to-work guidance Thursday, advising employees around the world that they won't be expected to return to the office full-time once coronavirus restrictions in their region have lifted.

As first reported by the Seattle Times, which received an early look at the new guidelines, Amazon expects to return to an office-centric work culture by this fall, with a baseline of three days per week in the office. Corporate employees will also have the option of working remotely from a domestic location for up to four weeks per year, with the expectation that those employees will still commute to an office during that span.

"Our thinking is predicated on what we believe will be most beneficial for customers, while also trying to give employees more flexibility in their work environment and lives," Amazon's guidance reads.

The guidance arrives as major tech companies are working to reimagine their work cultures for a post-COVID age. Earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly emailed employees calling for a September return to the office, and a three-days-in-the-office approach that's similar to what Amazon is doing. Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it would soon support full-time remote work as an option for all employees.

"We look forward to more learning and listening with this updated guidance, and will continue to evolve," Amazon's blog reads.