Amazon’s corporate workers won’t be returning to its offices until January 2022, the company has confirmed to The Verge. This marks a delay of around four months, as the company’s previous plan called for employees to return on a hybrid basis starting on September 7th, 2021.
Amazon released updated return-to-office procedures for its employees in June, and it tells The Verge that wearing masks will be optional for fully vaccinated employees but required for everyone else. The company’s news post about the return to office guidance stated that employees could expect a hybrid work model, with the standard being three days in the office and two remote.
The news of Amazon pushing back its in-person working plans comes as many other tech companies are reconsidering how to bring workers back. Microsoft, Google, and Facebook have all recently announced that their office workers would have to be vaccinated to return. Last month, Amazon said it wouldn’t require its employees to be vaccinated, and its masking requirements for non-vaccinated employees implies that’s still its position.
Of course, many of Amazon’s workers, including its warehouse and Whole Foods staff, have been working on-site throughout the pandemic. In October 2020, Amazon reported that from March 1st to September 19th, 2020, almost 20,000 of its frontline employees either tested positive or were presumed positive for COVID-19.
In July 2021, Amazon said it was halting its on-site testing program for its warehouses but that it would resume the tests if official health guidance changed. Amazon says it’s still following local regulations and guidance, but it decided to wind down its warehouse testing sites due to the widespread availability of testing in the US. This does, however, put the burden of finding and visiting a testing site onto the workers themselves.