Gergely Orosz, writing for the Pragmatic Engineer newsletter:
Thanks to verbal assurances, several employees I talked with said that they thought their work location in the contract is not relevant. Well, with this change, people will need to report at their official workplace 3 times per week, starting May, which is not what many of them signed up for.
If there’s one thing to be taken away from this Amazon RTO situation from a individual perspective, it’s that when you’re signing a new employment contract, you need to assume the company will enforce every single clause in it. If the company didn’t want to enforce something, they wouldn’t have put it in the contract in the first place. If you doubt that, just ask them to insert some clause that you think is ridiculous but that you swear you’ll never enforce, and see what they say.
I recall a situation when Salesforce acquired Slack, and we were all being told to sign new contracts to make us Salesforce employees. There was a clause which stipulated that if the company decided to close operations for the Christmas / Holiday period, you wouldn’t be required to work, but said shutdown would be deducted from your time off allowance. I was of the position that it was up to me when to choose my time off, so I asked for it to be struck from the contract. Salesforce HR insisted that there was no way the clause would ever be enforced, but not a single one of them could give me a reason why it was in the contract in the first place. I dug my heels in, and eventually they agreed to remove it.
It was a minor thing, and I didn’t actually imagine them ever enforcing it, but as the Amazon situation shows, you can’t assume things like that.