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

Shortly: Amazon is reportedly encouraging some employees to work from home to help the company cut costs associated with on-site employment. A source claims the move is part of a broader strategy that will eventually involve the closure of several call centers across the country, including a Kennewick, Washington location that opened in 2005.

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

Amazon spokesman Brad Glasser confirmed the push for remote working, noting that they offer additional customer service team members the increased flexibility that comes with working from home. Glasser, who didn’t directly comment on planned facility closures, added that Amazon is working with these employees to ensure a smooth transition while continuing to prioritize first-class support for customers.

The pandemic has prompted a workforce rethink that will likely continue well beyond Covid-19. Almost 90 percent of US customer service agents commuted to call centers prior to the pandemic, according to Jeff Christofis of staffing firm Kelly Services. Once the smoke clears, the split between working remotely and commuting to an office will likely be closer to 50/50.

The transition feels like a win-win situation for both sides. Employees can enjoy the benefits that come with remote working, including reduced fuel and vehicle maintenance costs, as well as time lost while traveling. Amazon won’t be limited to recruiting from specific regions, and if enough people choose to work remotely, the company could save money by closing dedicated call centers. In addition to the overheads associated with running a physical call center, Amazon also has to pay for the real estate it uses.

In the end, Amazon customers could lose out. Account managers working from home would likely not have the same level of managerial oversight as call center workers, and it is plausible that the quality of their work could suffer.

Photo credits: Pixabay, Karolina Grabowska Amazon wants some customer service representatives to work remotely as part of a broader cost-cutting effort

Chris Barrese

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