Amazon CEO Andy Jassy says Omicron ended a return to normal in 2022. ‘It’s not going to look like what it was before.’

Amazon CEO Andrew Jassy says that he believes people will go back into the office, but remote work will continue to be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future. 

At a Fortune gathering of 100 CEOs on Thursday, when asked about his predictions for 2022, Jassy talked about the recent return-to-office delays caused by the ongoing Omicron surge.

“I think people will come back in bigger numbers than before, but I think it’s not going to look like what it was before,” he said.

Around 75% of major Manhattan employers, many of which were white collar financial, real estate, and media firms, have delayed their return-to-office plans in the early weeks of 2022 citing Omicron concerns, according to a new survey released by Partnerships for New York, a nonprofit that represents New York City’s business leaders and largest employers. Across the country, 27% of employers delayed reopening plans or closed reopened workplaces in December, and 17% reported they were decreasing the number of workers allowed on-site, according to a recent Gartner survey.

Jassy touched on how the growth of new technologies over the past year, especially cloud-based software, has made remote work options more cost-effective and flexible. He believes that this transition to online work was bound to happen sooner or later, and the pandemic only “accelerated people moving to the cloud by a few years.”

Jassy advised other companies to remain flexible and ready to adjust to changing circumstances, even after the pandemic. 

“You need to adapt. When you have to do something really discontinuous overnight, like moving from your office where you work to your home, you have to change the way you operate,” he said.

The vast majority of employees, 89%, aspire to work at home at least part of the time, even after the pandemic, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group, and 61% of Americans would even be willing to take a pay cut if it meant that they could have access to a remote work option, according to a report by GoodHire, an employee background check service.

While Jassy did say that many people would eventually return to the office, some employees and specializations will indefinitely remain online.

“There are going to be certain functions, certain teams that predominantly work remotely and others that need to work together and work in the office,” Jassy said.

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