Amazon said Thursday it would not expect U.S. corporate employees to return to the office until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Seattle-based company said it is extending its work-from-home window to Jan. 3, 2022, from its previous Sept. 7 guidelines for the United States and other countries it didn’t mention, according to an internal note seen by Reuters.
“As we continue to closely monitor local conditions related to COVID-19, we are adjusting our guidelines for corporate employees,” the note said.
Amazon told Reuters that the health of its employees was its top priority and that it will adhere to local government guidelines for a safe return to the office. It said it requires masks in offices except for staff checking that they are fully vaccinated.
A spike in COVID-19 infections, made possible by the highly contagious Delta strain of the virus, has prompted some major companies to postpone plans to reopen offices. The United States reports the highest daily average number of infections worldwide, at 94,819, according to data collected by Reuters.
Last week, Alphabet’s Google said it would extend its work-from-home policy until Oct. 18, Facebook said it would require vaccinations for US employees in offices, and Twitter said it would close workspaces it had already reopened.
Amazon’s move a week after announcements from its peers offers a glimpse into evolving safety protocols during the pandemic and the battle for tech talent.
The company said earlier this year it had planned an “office-oriented culture,” but it quickly updated its guidelines to require in-person work three days a week, facing competition from startups and others offering more flexible schedules.
The most recent guidelines from the world’s largest online retailer do not cover warehouse and delivery personnel, which make up the bulk of its workforce. Amazon has more than 1.3 million full-time and part-time employees worldwide.