Leaked email shows Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is tightening its return-to-office policy: ‘Blue is a work-from-work company

  • Blue Origin tells many employees to be in the office 5 days a week, internal email shows.
  • Last year, Blue Origin told managers it would be flexible about employee work schedules.
  • Some other tech companies have less strict return-to-office policies for now.

Insider has learned that Blue Origin, the space company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is requiring many employees to work 5 days a week as it transitions from a more flexible remote work policy.

According to a companywide email obtained by Insider, executives recently shared a reminder of the new return-to-office policy. Employees with assigned desks in five of its remote offices, including Denver, El Segundo, Woodland Hills, Phoenix, and Reston, Virginia, are required to follow this policy because their “desk occupancy rates need to improve.”

The Seattle area, Florida, Texas, and Huntsville, Alabama, offices are “at capacity,” or “managing current space or parking constraints,” according to the email.

“As you are aware, Blue is a work-from-home company,” Blue Origin explained in an email. “We are a stronger team when we collaborate in person with our coworkers and are close to our projects and hardware.”

A spokesperson for Blue Origin did not respond to a request for comment.

Other tech companies, such as Amazon and Google, are currently taking a more hybrid approach than Blue Origin, requiring most employees to be in the office at least three times per week. Even that shift is causing some employees to question the effectiveness of such a change.

According to a current employee, the move to a full week RTO policy surprised Blue Origin because the company had previously stated that it would be more flexible. According to an internal memo obtained by Insider last year, Blue Origin’s SVP of operations Mike Eilola informed managers that the company had no plans to implement a one-size-fits-all RTO policy.

“Because our business requirements, individual situations, and work roles vary dramatically,” Eilola wrote, “Blue is not implementing a defined hybrid work schedule for all employees.”

At the time, Eilola stated that managers had the authority to adjust schedules for individual employees “to accommodate personal flexibility needs.” He also stated that the remote work agreement could be terminated at any time if the job position changes or there is a “significant performance decline.”

It’s unclear what prompted Blue Origin’s most recent policy shift. According to a recent email reminder, Blue Origin leaders stated that working in-person is important from “a culture, comradery, and results perspective.”

“Designing and building rockets, engines, and space systems requires hands-on work from our engineers, functional support teams, and more,” according to the email. “As more employees return to the office, the excitement and energy for our mission and achieving our goals grows.”

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