Amazon pushes remote working once again as call centers look set to close

woman working at a contact center
(Image credit: / Atstock Productions)

Amazon is reportedly encouraging some of its call center employees to work from home as rumors swirl around possible closures.

According to sources speaking to Bloomberg, the move signals a shifting preference by the tech giant towards remote work in instances where it could save on physical real estate. 

The unnamed source said the shift is part of a broader plan by Amazon to close down multiple contact centers around the country including one in Kennewick, Washington. 

Why the move?

The call center industry has historically been plagued by high employee turnover, which could potentially be one of the reasons for the move. 

In the UK for example, call centers deal with around 26% employee turnover annually according to CIPD figures, compared to a 15% average rate for the UK as a whole.

In addition, the average cost for this call center staff turnover is estimated at £6,000 per employee at minimum. 

“We’re offering additional members of our customer service team the increased flexibility that comes with working virtually,” Amazon spokesman Brad Glasser said in an email statement to Bloomberg. “We’re working with employees to make sure their transition is seamless while continuing to prioritize best-in-class support for customers.”

Contact center workers represent a relatively small percentage of Amazon's global workforce of 1.5 million.

However, Amazon has US call centers in locations such as Grand Forks, North Dakota; Huntington, West Virginia; Kennewick, Washington; and Winchester, Kentucky which all employ thousands of workers each.

Amazon already offers solutions aimed at enabling remote working in the contact center space, which are available for third parties to use.

Amazon Connect is an omnichannel cloud contact center that is used as an as-a-service model, enabling users to set up their own contact center, add agents from across the world, and engage with customers.

  • Interested in shifting your workforce to remote work? Check out our guide to the best  tools for remote work

Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.