Last Monday, Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy declared that the tech giant will allow individual teams to decide for how many days employees would be expected to work from office in a week. Amazon’s previous policy required employees to return to the office from January 3 for a minimum of three days a week. “For our corporate roles, instead of specifying that people work a baseline of three days a week in the office, we’re going to leave this decision up to individual teams,” said Andy Jassy. However, he specified that Amazon still wants most of its employees close enough to their team as they might be required to travel to the office for a meeting within a day’s notice.
According to experts, the decision to allow employees to work from home could imply diminished enterprise for its massive airline companions, which will register a drastic decrease in their business. With 80,000 employees, Amazon is the largest employer in the state of Washington. This means that even a small change in working schedules might impact the airlines in the region. In 2020, Amazon saved more than $1 billion in travel and related expenses due to the coronavirus travel restrictions. According to Mark O’Brien, managing partner of Avenue 5 Consulting, this cut had severe consequences on Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the two main airlines (Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines).
The new working habits could cause another ripple effect. However, it is likely that travel volumes will be redistributed rather than reduced, and that’s excellent news for regional airways. CEO of SkyWest Chip Childs said that people will relocate into small and mid-sized cities and the demand for regional aircraft is going to increase.
Lisa Lacey, managing consultant at Advito, believes that extra work flexibility will lead people to move to urban areas, which are less expensive but still close enough to the office so an airplane won’t be necessary. Simultaneously, other people might consider relocating from expensive cities (e.g. San Francisco, Los Angeles) to cheaper areas such as Denver, Dallas or Phoenix where the cost of living is lower, but there is still access to major airports.