Tech

Amazon wants some customer service representatives to work remotely as part of a broader cost-cutting program.

In short: Amazon is reportedly encouraging some employees to work from home to help the company cut costs associated with working onsite. One source claims the move is part of a wider strategy that will eventually include closing several call centers across the country, including one in Kennewick, Washington that opened in 2005.

Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Amazon is pushing some customer service representatives at US call centers to work remotely.

Amazon Representative Brad Glasser confirmed push for remote work, noting that they offer additional members of the customer service team increased flexibility associated with working from home. Glasser, who did not directly comment on the planned facility closures, added that Amazon is working with those employees to ensure a smooth transition while continuing to prioritize top-notch customer support.

The pandemic has prompted a rethinking of the workforce that is likely to linger long after Covid-19. Prior to the pandemic, almost 90 percent of customer service reps in the US made it to call centers, according to Jeff Christophis of Kelly Services HR. Once the smoke clears, the ratio between remote work and travel to the office is likely to get closer to 50/50.

The shift seems like a win-win for both sides. Employees will be able to enjoy the benefits of remote work, including reduced fuel and vehicle maintenance costs, as well as reduced time lost during travel. Amazon will not be limited to recruiting employees from certain regions, and if enough people choose to work remotely, the company could save money by closing specialized call centers. In addition to the overhead of running a physical call center, Amazon also has to pay for the property it occupies.

Ultimately, Amazon customers may find themselves with the short end of the stick. Help desk representatives working from home will most likely not have the same level of managerial oversight as those in call centers, and it is likely that the quality of their work may suffer.

Image credit: pixabay, Karolina Grabowska


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