Return To Office (Amazon Reaction)

This is a reaction to this article written on the Pragmatic Engineer:

Amazon doubling down on RTO (return to office)

Over the course of my career, I have had the opportunity to work with many ex-Amazon SDE (Software Developers). Throughout all levels, they are phenomenal at their job. They have an uncanny ability to weigh the need for features with documentation. They almost always are elequent writers and never shy away from data to support their findings.

However when it comes to being effective at managing asynchronous communications through GitHub, they break down quickly. One of the key items required for successful remote teams, is their ability to handle the flood of asynchronous communication mediums. Either through email, GitHub, GitLab, Jira, Confluence, Pivotal, or whatever.

Most engineers and managers who have only ever been in an office (pre-COVID), fail at this spectacularly. They are too used to simply turning around and 'pinging individuals' for code reviews, responses on design documents, or feedback on Architectural Decision Records (ADRs).

Managing these async-inboxes is often seen as meta-work or chores. Engineers who can wrestle these tasks throughout automation or common processes, will be indefinitely more productive at remote work. Engineers who showcase this skill well and share their techniques with their teams, should be the obvious recipients of these remote 'exceptions'.

And for any Amazon Hiring Managers struggling in the next year to fill struggling teams with quality engineers, changes like this will make your job harder and harder. Opening these roles up to permenantly remote positions will not only widen the pool of engineers, it will likely net you more producitve future teams.