Amazon employees share how a flexible working culture helps them balance exciting careers with busy home lives

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Colleagues at Amazon enjoy great flexible working options

Colleagues at Amazon enjoy great flexible working options

 December 09, 2019

Flexible, part-time and remote working at Amazon helps the company's employees to embrace challenges and chart their own path. Hear from some of the many women Amazonians who benefit from a flexible work culture.

Eloise Smith, Group Creative Director, Amazon EU 

Eloise (pictured above) works four days per week as Group Creative Director for Amazon’s EU cross-channel marketing function, XCM. The role involves creating mass advertising for Amazon across TV, print, digital and radio.

On the fifth day of each week, Eloise pursues a career as an author. Her debut children’s fiction title is soon to be released. “I can’t say too much, except that it’s about sword-fighting, dogs and tunnels," she says.

“Working four days a week allows me to pursue my side-line in fiction writing. My writing fuels my creativity and, increasingly, it’s a non-negotiable part of my life.

“If it wasn’t for Amazon and the flexible working option, I probably would have gone freelance. I do four days per week of fast-paced, collaborative advertising, followed by a day of quiet writing on my own. That leaves the weekend free for family life and the occasional laundry load."

“Amazon does of course provide tech solutions that help when managing a part-time schedule. However, more than anything it’s their enlightened attitude to flexible working that makes such a huge difference," she adds. "They value employees for their overall contribution, not just for the number of hours they work. That gives you a fantastic sense that your contribution is worthwhile and recognised.”

Frances Russell, VP Softlines

Frances Russell, Amazon

Frances joined Amazon as a Vice President to create and build the EU Private brands business. She is currently leading new business development and sustainability, and works across Amazon’s fashion operation, including support for the shoes team where she works three days a week.

“The flexibility means I can spend more time with my family. I never miss school events and in between I have more down time to see friends – and get into a good book," says Frances.

Frances credits Amazon’s approach to flexible and part-time working as a key difference from other employers: “I think the agility and support here is one of the factors that retains great talent. People need flexibility throughout their careers and companies that can offer this will retain their top talent.”

“Whilst other companies have supported me when working part time, the trust from Amazon as well as the tech solutions that make working from home so easy," she adds. "Chime is a perfect example.”

Madeleine Knowles, Senior Manager, Amazon in the Community

Madeleine Knowles, Amazon

Madeleine currently works four days a week managing Amazon’s community programmes, working with teams across Amazon to bring these exciting initiatives and partnerships to life.

Amazon’s community programmes focus on ensuring more children and young adults, especially those from lower-income communities, have the resources and skills they need to build their best and brightest future.

Madeleine explained how flexible working was invaluable after the birth of her daughter: “I returned from maternity leave to a four-day week, taking Fridays off to look after my daughter. Without flexible working she would be in nursery full time, so it’s great to be able to spend an extra day with her.”

“This is the first time I have used flexible working and it enables me to do nursery drop offs and pickups, balancing my workload with childcare. It was incredibly important for me to spend an extra day with my daughter while also delivering my work to the highest standard," she adds.

Amazon and Madeleine's manager were supportive from the outset, not only when returning from maternity leave to a four-day week, but also working collaboratively and putting extra resource in place to help her achieve the same role in less time.

Madeleine feels that the option to take up flexible or part-time working makes sense not just for her as an employee, but for Amazon as an employer.

“It’s important that people are supported to find a way of working that is best for them. Whether you’re a new parent, requiring an adaptation based on a mobility or disability problem, or committed to a passion project – those aspects should never get in the way of a successful career," she says. "For me, flexibility enriches both my career as an employee and Amazon as an employer. It’s a win-win.”

Working with a truly flexible employer

To embrace the challenges presented by modern life, Amazon offers flexible, part-time and remote working to its staff. Whether you’re a parent, carer, pursuing a passion project or in need of adaptations to your working life, Amazon is committed to supporting the people who deliver remarkable work every day.

Due to its pioneering policies, Amazon was recognised as Women in Tech’s Female Tech Employer of the Year. Amazon also ranked first in the LinkedIn Top Companies in the UK list, recognised as the top company “where UK professionals want to work now”. Plus, Amazon has been ranked number one in Glassdoor’s list of The UK’s Most In-Demand Companies.

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