Amazon workers plan RTO walkout as tech’s corporate morale nosedives

Thursday, May 25, 2023 by Snacks

Walking the talk… Employees at Amazon's HQ in Seattle say they’re going to walk off the job next week to protest the company’s return to office (RTO) mandate, layoffs, and a perceived lack of commitment to climate pledges. Organizers are looking for at least 1K workers to participate.

  • Primed: After Amazon announced an RTO mandate in February, nearly 30K employees (about 10% of its corporate workforce) signed a petition opposing the hybrid plan. But 700 staffers joined a pro-RTO Slack group.

  • Returned: Days after announcing another wave of 9K layoffs in March (for a total of 27K since last year), Amazon CEO Andy Jassy rejected the employee petition and doubled down on his three day/week in-office rule (which started this month), despite some offices apparently not being ready for employees until fall.

Big tech’s morale-gorithm appears to be broken… Tech employee morale is said to be plunging as mass layoffs, hiring freezes, and stalled projects have left workers anxious. Even before Meta's 21K layoffs, only 31% of employees were confident in its leaders. Yesterday, Meta wrapped up its latest round of job cuts, which employees said had caused a standstill. Microsoft execs fielded employee questions about “rock bottom” morale at an all-hands this week, while vibes at Google have also reportedly tanked following layoffs and perk cuts.


RTO may be retreating… The number of companies requiring workers in the office full time has fallen to 42% from 49% three months ago. Last year a Gallup poll found that worker engagement had declined the most among workers with remote-friendly jobs who were working from the office. While employers want to get staffers back at office desks to boost collaboration, they risk crushing morale.

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