Amazon is defying trend by increasing its physical office footprint at a time when other companies are increasingly going digital.
The online retailer says it will be expanding its physical presence in six U.S. cities. It plans to add 900,000 square feet of office space and create 3,500 corporate jobs New York, Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Detroit, and Dallas.
“The ability to connect with people, the ability for teams to work together in an ad hoc fashion—you can do it virtually, but it isn’t as spontaneous,” Ardine Williams, vice president of workforce development at Amazon, told The Wall Street Journal. “We are looking forward to returning to the office.”
Amazon’s decision to expand its physical office space differs from many other tech firms. Facebook for example has said it’s moving to a mostly remote workforce over the next decade, and Twitter has told its employees they can work from home permanently if they wish.
But not every company is happy with working from home. While some have successfully adapted, others say they’ve faced challenges. Concerns include training new workers, collaborating and lengthier timelines to complete some projects.
To expand its footprint in New York City, Amazon has bought a historic building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan that’s scheduled to open in 2023.
Williams told the Journal that urban locations remain key to attracting certain talent pools. She said the company believes professionals will continue to want to live and work in urban environments even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.