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Amazon’s Return-To-Office Plan Raises Concerns Over Employee Tracking

As Amazon’s return-to-office mandate kicks in next week, requiring employees to be in the office at least three days a week, many workers are feeling uneasy about how the company plans to monitor compliance. An internal Q&A issued last month made it clear that employees are expected to be in their assigned offices unless they have been granted a rare exemption to work remotely.

One point of contention is Amazon’s use of employee badge data to track attendance. While it is not uncommon for companies to monitor badge data for office usage, some employees are worried that Amazon may use this information to penalize those who don’t adhere to the return-to-office policy. This concern has been fueled by Slack messages and emails seen by Insider, which reveal that Amazon shares a weekly building occupancy report and an “Attendance Dashboard” with managers.

An Amazon spokesperson said that sharing such data is standard practice, as it allows senior leaders to access anonymized information about building usage for facility planning and emergency preparedness. However, there are still lingering doubts among employees. Some claim that team-level data was not actively shared before the pandemic and could be used to enforce the return-to-office policy more stringently.

In an internal document from Amazon’s HR team, one employee asked if badge scans would be monitored to ensure adherence to the three-day-a-week requirement. An Amazon manager responded that badge scan data had been shared for some time, but they were unsure how it would be enforced during the initial stages of the return-to-office plan.

Given Amazon’s history of using monitoring technology, such as handheld scanners for tracking warehouse workers’ productivity and AI cameras in delivery vehicles, office workers’ concerns about attendance monitoring are not entirely unfounded. As the return-to-office mandate takes effect, it remains to be seen how Amazon will use this data and address employee apprehensions.

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