Amazon.com Inc. is expanding its physical offices in six U.S. cities and adding thousands of corporate jobs in those areas, an indication the tech giant is making long-term plans around office work even as other companies embrace lasting remote employment.
“The ability to connect with people, the ability for teams to work together in an ad hoc fashion—you can do it virtually, but it isn’t as spontaneous,” said Ardine Williams, vice president of workforce development at Amazon. “We are looking forward to returning to the office.”
Amazon’s move to expand its footprint in various cities and set expectations for a return to the office contrasts with other major technology companies that have implemented remote work and predicted it will last long after the coronavirus pandemic.
Facebook Inc. in May said it would shift toward a substantially remote workforce over the next decade, and Twitter Inc. has told employees they can work from home indefinitely. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company’s strategy had to do with attracting the best talent and that the company’s productivity even as its workers were home gave him confidence in the remote model.
Amazon is among a number of companies that have come to see things differently. While many corporate executives were pleasantly surprised with how quickly their workforces adapted to unprecedented circumstances, many have come to see some of the downsides of remote work as well, including challenges with training new workers, barriers to collaboration and lengthier timelines for some projects. Some say they no longer see remote work lasting forever at their companies.