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Amazon shifts return-to-office stance, says remote work is OK 2 days a week

Katherine Anne Long, Heidi Groover, Paul Roberts, The Seattle Times on

Published in Business News

“No one in my management chain seems eager to push folks back into the office,” he said.

Amazon’s new stance on remote work mirrors that of other tech employers.

Google and Apple have both said they’ll allow two work-from-home days each week; both companies gave employees the option to work remotely full time some weeks each year. Facebook and Microsoft have said most employees can ask to continue working remotely, while Twitter and Slack have gone further, announcing a transition to an almost entirely remote workplace.

Demand for office space continues

So far, the permissive remote work regimes of many tech tenants do not seem to have affected investors’ long-term bets on the Seattle-area office market. Though office rents are basically flat, foreign investment in local office buildings has continued, in part because of the perceived safety of tech tenants like Amazon.

Part-time work-from-home arrangements “should not have a significant impact on the rate of recovery for the office market in Seattle/Bellevue,” said Chris Kagi, associate director at the commercial real estate firm Savills.

 

A mix of work-from-home and work in the office is “the middle ground between employer and employee needs,” he said. “This will cause office users to rethink how they use their space, but it still means there will need to be a physical location to touch down and congregate.”

Amazon views its offices as long-term investments and sees value in maintaining space for employees to gather in person, spokesperson Jose Negrete said in an email. The company is Seattle’s largest office tenant and is rapidly scaling up its Bellevue office footprint to hold 25,000 employees by 2025.

Inflating the cost of suburban housing

In the housing market, hybrid work could continue driving demand outside of Seattle, where rents and home prices have climbed.

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