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Most Amazon employees expected back in offices by this fall

Amazon said it expects its U.S. employees will start returning this summer and that most will be back in the office by early fall.

SEATTLE — Amazon said it expects most of its employees will be back in the office by early this fall, the company announced on its COVID-19 vaccination and testing blog.

Amazon said its “plan is to return to an office-centric culture as our baseline,” and believes returning to the office “enables us to invent, collaborate, and learn together most effectively.”

The company previously said employees would continue to work from home through June 30, 2021. Amazon said in Tuesday’s blog post that it expects more employees will start gradually returning to the office through the summer as COVID-19 vaccines become more available in the United States.

Amazon employees in parts of Asia have already returned to the office, the company said, while employees in some European countries are expected to work from home longer “given recent setbacks” with the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 10% of Amazon’s corporate employees currently work from an office, according to the blog post.

Other Seattle-area companies are also starting to have employees return.

Microsoft gave employees the option to return to its Redmond, Washington, campus on March 29. Executive Vice President Kurt DelBene said the company has been monitoring local health data and decided to give workers the choice to return to headquarters, continue working remotely or do a combination of both.

Washington state moved into Phase 3 of its COVID-19 reopening plan on March 22, meaning all of the state’s 39 counties were allowed to relax coronavirus restrictions. In Phase 3, professional services are allowed to have 50% capacity, although remote working is strongly encouraged.

Seattle is one of the cities leading the nation in the demand for office space after many companies across the country started having employees work from home as COVID-19 infection and death rates rose to dangerous levels at the start of the pandemic.

A recent report from the VTS Office Demand Index shows an 85% drop in the national demand for office space in May 2020.

New York leads the country with the fastest recovery for demand in office space. Seattle and Washington D.C. follow the Big Apple.