Amazon wants more telecommuting and fewer offices

Amazon is trying to reduce the number of people entering its offices by encouraging its call center employees to work from home. `

The e-commerce giant is offering full remote work for its customer service employees and plans to close several call centers across the country to save money on real estate, Bloomberg reported.

After the pandemic proved that many office jobs could be done remotely, companies like Amazon concluded that most customer service roles, which take up valuable office space, don’t need to be done. in person. Customer service positions are also seeing rapid turnover, and Amazon’s remote work program could help it recruit more employees from different cities across the United States.

“We are offering additional members of our customer service team the increased flexibility that comes with virtual work,” said Amazon spokesman Brad Glasser. “We are working with employees to ensure their transition is smooth while continuing to prioritize best-in-class customer support.”

The decision to cut in-person call center offices coincides with other plans within Amazon to reduce the real estate holdings it purchased during the pandemic-era surge in online shopping. Amazon is seeking to lease 10 million square feet of space and free up even more by ending leases with landlords, according to Bloomberg, at warehouses in New York, New Jersey, Southern California and Atlanta.

A personnel problem

There’s a bigger shift happening within Amazon, away from the no-frills, low-wage, high-turnover labor model it’s operated under for years.

In June, an internal Amazon research note published by Recode revealed that the tech giant could run out of workers to hire for its warehouses by 2024. The company also announced today that it would raise its salary hours in the United States for most front-line workers in warehousing and transportation at over $19 per hour.

Amazon has also already allowed remote work for its employees. “We don’t have a plan to force people back,” CEO Andy Jassy told tech journalist Kara Swisher at Vox Media’s Code 2022 conference, adding “we’re not doing that right now. But we will proceed adaptively as we learn.

One reason Amazon might be more inclined to make concessions to its employees is that it faces growing employee activism and labor campaigns at its US warehouses.

Amazon recently lost its bid to overturn a historic union election held last April, where workers at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, voted to unionize, making the 8,000-employee Amazon factory the first to do so. Another union vote is scheduled at a facility in Albany, NY: next month.

Amazon is the second largest private employer in the United States, behind Walmart, and the company employed more than 1.1 million people in the United States at the end of 2021. While call center employees make up a small fraction of its workforce, that’s another indication. a transfer of power to the worker.

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