Amazon tracks and targets US staff over three days in office rule

Email to some employees sparks concerns about privacy

Amazon has tracked the attendance of US-based workers and targeted those who appeared to fail to comply with its hybrid working policy, sparking concerns about privacy.

The Seattle-based online retailer this week singled out some staff members to tell them they were “not currently meeting our expectation of joining your colleagues in the office at least three days a week”, according to an email seen by the Financial Times.

“We expect you to start coming into the office three or more days a week now,” the email said.

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The email to a select number of employees prompted some to raise concerns about privacy while others said they had received the email in error.


The monitoring of attendance in the US appeared to be linked to the use of staff identification badges. Amazon, in response to staff complaints over the targeted emails, this week admitted “there may be instances where we have it wrong”, adding that it had “taken several steps” to ensure the email “went to the correct recipients”, according to a note seen by the Financial Times.

Amazon said the email had been sent to employees who had “badged in fewer than three days a week for five or more of the past eight weeks [or] have not badged in three days a week for three or more of the past four weeks”.

The company declined to comment on Thursday about the internal communication.

Amazon and other tech companies are among a growing list of employers worldwide that have in recent months asked staff to return to the office more regularly following years of disruption and remote working during the coronavirus pandemic. Amazon’s three-day policy began on May 1st.

Staff at Google are expected to be in the office three days a week, while video conferencing company Zoom told employees this week that employees living within 80km of one of its offices had to attend in person at least two days a week.

The upset over attendance monitoring at Amazon follows a difficult few months for the retailer, which laid off almost 30,000 employees this year following a downturn in consumer spending. In March, the company paused construction of its second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, as part of a broader cost-cutting drive. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023