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Amazon Asks Some Employees To Go Remote As Rumors Swirl Call Centers Are Next On The CRE Chopping Block

In its latest bid to trim real estate costs, Amazon is asking many of its customer service employees to work from home.

The move comes as the e-commerce giant apparently plans to close some of its call centers, an anonymous source told Yahoo Finance. One of those centers, the source said, is located in Kennewick, Washington, where hundreds of employees are based.


Amazon is among the majority of companies that have shifted to a hybrid or remote work model as a result of the pandemic. The decision helps recruit and retain employees, but it also saves Amazon money: By closing call centers, the company can hire from anywhere while also cutting the cost of existing facilities.

“We’re offering additional members of our customer service team the increased flexibility that comes with working virtually,” Amazon spokesman Brad Glasser said in an email to Yahoo News. “We’re working with employees to make sure their transition is seamless while continuing to prioritize best-in-class support for customers.”

As part of an overall real estate pullback, Amazon has closed several operating facilities and canceled or postponed plans for dozens of future facilities in recent months.

While Amazon may be saving money on real estate, its personnel costs are on the rise. The average starting wage for warehousing and transportation employees in the U.S. was just bumped to $19 per hour, which translates to an annual expense of $1B, per Yahoo Finance. 

The increase is likely due to the mass exodus of Amazon employees seen in recent years, especially as reports surfaced of subpar working conditions and unusually high injury rates. A leaked internal memo, first reported by Vox’s Recode, said the company expected to run out of available workers by 2024 if it continued “business as usual.”

Related Topics: Amazon, Brad Glasser