Some people who have become used to working from home find that going back to the office now that the pandemic is subsiding isn’t so cool.
More than 2,300 Disney worker members signed a petition this week opposing CEO Bob Iger’s demand that employees work a Monday through Thursday schedule starting on March 1. Currently, CNBC reports that a similar uprising is occurring at Amazon, where a number of staff members argued against CEO Andy Jassy’s request for staff to work three days a week again beginning May 1. A Slack channel for Amazon employees to voice their complaints was started on Friday and has since grown to more than 14K members.
When We contacted an Amazon representative about the matter, they pointed us onto Jassy’s Friday staff memo.
Then Jassy said, “We’re going to give the teams that need to perform that work some time to design a plan because it’s not easy to bring thousands of employees back to our offices across the world. We are aware that it won’t be ideal at first, but as our real estate and facilities teams iron out the kinks and eventually continuing refining how we want our offices to be set up to capture the new ways we want to work, the office experience will slowly get better over the coming months (and years). I am aware that there will be inquiries regarding the implementation of this adjustment. Please check Inside Amazon for updates as we complete those details in the upcoming weeks.
According to a draught of the petition, which was reported by Business Insider, “We, the undersigned, call for Amazon to protect its role and status as a global retail and tech leader by immediately cancelling the RTO policy and issuing a new policy that allows employees to work remotely or more flexibly, if they choose to do so, as their team and job role permits.”
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Statistics demonstrating how remote work boosts productivity, lowers costs, and draws in top talent were included in the petition. How a return to in-person would affect those parents, minorities, carers, and individuals with disabilities was a cause for concern.
There are other significant employers attempting to return to normal besides Disney and Amazon. The federal government, which is the largest of these organisations in the country, will let the Covid state of emergency expire in May, which means the extraordinary powers it granted — such as requiring employers to follow Covid regulations or compelling insurers to pay for Covid tests — will no longer be available. The Covid state of emergency in California, which is closer to Hollywood, ends considerably sooner, on February 28.
“WarnerMedia Workers Ordered To Return To Office On Short Notice By Warner Bros. Discovery” was the heading of a Deadline article that appeared in April of last year.
Employees at WarnerMedia were outraged following a memo that Adria Alpert Romm, chief people and culture officer at Warner Bros. Discovery, sent to them earlier in the day. It stated that employees might ease into the hybrid schedule by starting to come to the office at least twice a week in May and that they would be expected to be in the office at least three times a week by June 1 (2022).
“From a worker who has been with Warner for over 20 years…this really feels like McDonalds has bought a Michelin star restaurant and believes they know how to operate it,” says one comment on the post that garnered a lot of attention.
Iger and Jassy have similar perspectives on going back to work. His note explains that working together helps to “learn, model, practise, and enhance our culture” and that “collaborating and innovating is easier and more effective when we’re in person.”
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Iger highlighted in his message dated January 9 that, “In a creative organisation like ours, nothing can replace the opportunity to grow professionally by learning from leaders and mentors, nor the capacity to connect, observe, and create with peers that comes from being physically together. I firmly believe that increased face-to-face collaboration will enhance our team’s creativity, culture, and employees’ professional development.
The petitioners against a return to work at Disney came from such departments as ABC, 20th Century Studios, Marvel Studios, Hulu, Pixar, and FX, according to the Washington Post. At the Mouse House, those who preferred remote work contended that output, efficiency, and productivity would all suffer. They also thought that going back to in-person would result in a shortage of resources and employee departures.
Amazon workers are angry because Jassy previously praised a hybrid workplace and said that one size does not fit all. The Amazon workers in question, according to reports, are individuals who were employed to work remote jobs away from the company’s major hubs in Seattle, New York, and Northern California.
There will undoubtedly be some roles (such as some of our salespeople, customer service, etc.) and exceptions to these expectations going forward, but they will be a small minority, according to Jassy.
Disney declined to comment on the plea to get back to work when Deadline contacted them.