In the wake of Amazon demanding its corporate staff to report back to the office by May 1, many are questioning the ability of a boss having the right to tell employees to work from the office, creating discourse both locally and on the national level.
But the answer is clear for KIRO Newsradio’s Gee Scott.
“If you don’t want to go back to work, go find another job,” Gee said. “Look, this whole working from home thing, I think is fantastic. I am fighting for four days a week, I think it is fantastic. If you have the opportunity to work from home, that work-life balance, I’m not hating on you.”
Corporations thinning out remote work opportunities is occurring in tandem with massive layoffs as companies are rethinking their staffing strategies. Amazon is reportedly cutting 18,000 jobs. Salesforce stated it planned to lay off 10% of its employees, according to The Associated Press, while Goldman Sachs is preparing to lay off as many as 4,000 people.
Amazon, Salesforce jettison jobs in latest tech worker purge
“I think Amazon’s move is absolute garbage,” producer Andrew “Chef” Lanier said in response to Gee. “Amazon made record profits during the pandemic, when everybody was working from home, they did not say that their bottom line needs to improve.”
Amazon’s decision to end its flexible remote-work policy is based on the impact it had on company culture, specifically making it harder to collaborate on important innovations, according to CEO Andy Jassy.
This decision overturns the company’s initial ruling, back in Oct. 2021, that corporate employees’ returning to its offices will be left to the discretion of its directors on a team-by-team basis.
“And this is why they’re doing it. They said, ‘it’s going to improve collaboration, and it’s going to make for a stronger company and culture.’ I don’t think that’s a good enough reason,” Chef continued. “The third reason that the CEO said is, ‘our communities matter to us, and where we can play a further role in helping them recover from the challenges of the last few years.’ I don’t buy it.”
Gee countered by using himself as an example, stating his radio show with Ursula Reutin is better when they are physically together.
“I can look into her eyes,” Gee said. “It’s a better discussion.”
According to a survey of over 2,000 remote workers by Buffer.com, 57% responded that they have been working remotely for less than two years. Just 6% have worked remotely for longer than a decade. The survey received an overwhelmingly positive rating for remote work, as 97% of respondents would recommend remote work opportunities to friends and colleagues, and 97% want to keep it permanently.
“What’s more important in a regional perspective is not having crappy traffic, not having thousands of people using thousands of gallons of gas every day, polluting to drive into the city,” Chef said. “If I was hired with the expectation that I would be able to work remotely, I’d then design my life around working remotely.”
Amazon employees return to the office beginning May 1
But Gee believed the issue is bigger than that.
“If an employer said we think that the work is better done here at the office than it is at home, then you have to do what the employer says,” Gee countered. “No different than I have to do what my employer says on other issues. So I’m sorry.
“And if you’re working in Amazon, and you’re one of those that is fighting back, and trying to make sure you don’t have to go back on May 1, you might be mad at me,” Gee continued. “And I apologize.”
Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.