(NewsNation) — Amazon sent out messages to its corporate employees this week, scolding them for not being in the office three days a week per the company’s hybrid work policy, multiple media outlets report.
These employees were reportedly identified based on data about individual badge swipes, which workers use to gain access to buildings, technology news website GeekWire wrote.
“We are reaching out as you are not currently meeting our expectation of joining your colleagues in the office at least three days a week, even though your assigned building is ready,” emails viewed by GeekWire and other publications said. “We expect you to start coming into the office three or more days a week now.”
Some employees of the Seattle-based company stated they believed they received these messages in error, GeekWire wrote.
In response to a NewsNation request for comment, Amazon sent an email it shared with U.S. employees, stating that the initial message was sent to those who badged in fewer than three days a week for five or more of the past eight weeks; have not badged in three days a week for three or more of the past four weeks; and whose buildings have been ready for in-office work for more than eight weeks.
It asked those who believe they mistakenly got the email to reach out to their managers.
Amazon employees unhappy with the return-to-office policy, which went into effect May 1, criticized the messages. Some employees expressed concerns about privacy, The Financial Times said, while Insider wrote that one employee asked on Slack if workers need to start taking selfies to prove they were in an office, and others worried about what this meant for their jobs.
Insider reported in April that employees had concerns about their badge data being used to track them. Emails seen by Insider show that Amazon shared a weekly building occupancy report with managers, as well as an “Attendance Dashboard” that provides a “team level metric only.”
At the time, a spokesperson said sharing this data is common practice and helps leaders get information needed to help plan facilities needs and account for people on-site in case of an emergency.
Since the three-day-a-week in office policy was first announced by Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, employees have pushed back. About a month after it went into effect, corporate Amazon workers protested the policy, as well as the company’s climate impact, through a walkout.
A note written by walkout organizers asked Amazon to “return autonomy to its teams, who know their employees and customers best” and allow them to “make the best decision on remote, in-person, or hybrid work.”
Jassy wrote in a February memo that Amazon made the decision to return corporate employees to the office after senior leadership concluded that they tended to be more engaged and collaborate easier in person.
Amazon has come under fire for monitoring employees using technology before: Vice reported in 2021 that handheld scanners were being used to track warehouse workers’ productivity. Insider has written about AI cameras installed in Amazon delivery drivers’ vehicles, too.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.