Amazon delays office return for its workforce to January 2022 due to Delta variant spread

Amazon delays office return for its workforce to January 2022 due to Delta variant spread
(Image: Reuters)

After the likes of Google, Microsoft and Facebook, Amazon has now announced an extension of work-from-home for its employees. The company’s plans to call its workforce to office starting September were changed due to the rise of the delta variant in the US.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Amazon has delayed return-to-office for its employees to next year.
  • It promises to inform employees with “multiple weeks’ notice” in case of any changes.
  • It has not adopted a vaccination mandate for office return yet.

Amazon has extended the timeline for calling its employees to office, citing the rise in the delta variants of Covid-19 in the US. The company informed its employees of the update in a mail on Thursday.

Amazon previously expected to call its workforce to its US offices from the second week of September. The new decision has now delayed this return until early next year. It now plans to reinstate regular office work among its workforce from January 3, 2022.

India Today Tech got access to the internal email by Amazon to its employees. In its mail, Amazon stated that this return-to-office timeline will “vary globally in accordance with local conditions.” It promised to inform the employees of its plans as and when any update is available, and that it will give out multiple weeks’ notice of any such changes.

“We recognize that many of you need to make plans for yourself and your family as you return to the office, and we will continue updating these localized pages as soon as we have new information to share,“ it wrote.

In the mail, it mentioned that all the Amazon offices remain open and that its employees are “mostly back in the office” in some areas of the world. It also highlighted “strong safety protocols” being followed in its offices for ensuring the safety of the employees.

With this, Amazon becomes yet another technology major to delay the full reopening of its offices. Late last month, Facebook and Google announced a similar extension of their voluntary work-from-home policies, allowing their employees to work remotely for a few more months. Microsoft followed suit early this month, extending the reopening of its own office spaces.

However, unlike the other three, Amazon has not introduced a vaccine mandate for its employees already working from the office. While Facebook, Google and Microsoft have asked employees to bring proof of vaccination before entering the offices, Amazon sticks to the use of face masks as the only prerequisite for an office return.

The consecutive decisions by the tech majors come as the US deals with an increasing scare of the Covid-19 delta variant. The response of the tech giants to the new phase of the pandemic is likely to shape the actions of the rest of the players in the industry.