‘We still believe in the office’ – Amazon Web Services' Irish boss

AWS’s Mike Beary on why office culture still matters

Offices aren't just important for maintaining productivity but they also lead to increased innovation, according to Amazon Web Services' country manager for Ireland.

"We still believe in the office," said Mike Beary, who leads AWS, a subsidiary of online giant Amazon that offers cloud services spanning computer power, database storage and content delivery.

Amazon last year announced plans to create to 1,000 jobs in the State in a move that will bring total headcount here to 5,000. It is due to open a new 15,800sq m (170,000sq ft) campus at Charlemont Square in Dublin 2 next year.

“We believe in the office but will we back there nine to five like we were in the past? Probably not. What we see is something hybrid developing,” said Mr Beary.


AWS accounts for over half of the online retail giant’s annual profits, which totalled $21.3 billion (€18.15 billion) last year.

Mr Beary said that while the company had been able to work well remotely during the pandemic, he wants to see people back in the office when it is safe.

“We’ve seen our productivity be maintained as a result of remote working but we also want to ensure our innovation pipeline is strong as well,” Mr Beary added.

Mr Beary, who was speaking at a virtual seminar hosted by PwC, said that what we see as serendipitous moments in work aren't actually accidental but arise because of the way in which the office is structured.

“Offices are designed to create those kinds of interactions and it is those types of interaction that we believe lead to innovation,” he said.

How people learn

Mr Beary also said that how people learn is influenced by seeing others at work.

“We believe that culture is caught, not taught. You experience culture in those moments where you observe your colleagues and your leaders and how they behave,” he said.

Companies could no longer sit on the fence in terms of social issues such as race relations, Mr Beary said.

“You need to do this even if it risks alienating the customer because if you don’t you risk alienating employees.”

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist