Amazon delays employee office return until 2022 amid COVID-19 surge

Unvaccinated employees will be able to work at the office as long as they wear masks.

Lindsey Wasson / reuters

After previously announcing it expected corporate employees to return to the office on September 7th this year, Amazon has announced a further delay until January 3rd, 2022, Reuters has reported. The change of plans comes amid a surge of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant across the US. "As we continue to closely watch local conditions related to COVID-19, we are adjusting our guidance for corporate employees," the company said in a statement.

Shortly after the pandemic started, Amazon said it expected employees to return to the office in October of 2020. That date was pushed back to 2021 as multiple waves of the virus forced lockdowns and business closures across the US.

Google and Microsoft also recently announced that they'd be pushing back office returns until October 2021, later than the September date that Microsoft originally planned. However, while both Google and Microsoft require that any employees returning to the office be vaccinated, Amazon has said that unvaccinated employees may return as long as they wear masks.

Like other tech companies, Amazon has allowed for a hybrid office/home work structure due to the pandemic. However, in March this year, it seemed eager to get everyone back to the office. "Our plan is to return to an office-centric culture as our baseline. We believe it enables us to invent, collaborate, and learn together most effectively," the company said in its vaccination and testing blog. Now, that will be delayed for at least another five months.