Online retailer Amazon has announced massive expansion plans for 2017, including the creation of 25,000 new part-time jobs at it’s fulfilment centres and 5,000 new work from home positions.
The work-from-home positions are limited to inhabitants of certain US states and will attract pay of $10 per hour.
Many US employers, particularly in the tech industry are increasingly offering flexible and home working, which is a perceived benefit by the employee but which also allows employers to tap in to previously untapped talent who for one reason or another would struggle to commute and work normal office hours.
‘Flexible work options perceived as a perk’
Steve Mosser, founder and CEO of Sensée, UK’s leading homeworking employer, commented:
“For most companies, flexible work options are still a perk rather than standard operating procedure. However, forward-thinking organisations understand that trends are clearly moving towards embracing flexible work as a way of doing business, and I truly believe this method of working will become the norm rather than the exception.
At Sensée, we welcome Amazon’s announcement. Although this is restricted to the US for the time being, the fact that Amazon is not only embracing homeworking but that the positions come with employee benefits, including sick and holiday pay, will hopefully encourage others to build on strong social foundations. This shows both courage and thought leadership, as it addresses the issues the gig-economy has brought into the job market where people are given no option other than to accept false self-employed with no guarantees of work, income and benefits.
At Sensée, and unlike other homeworking customer service companies, all our 800 homeworkers are employees rather than self-employed, and as a result, we have the ‘luxury’ of attracting a broad pool of talent, from people living in rural areas to people with disabilities to working mums.”
‘Great way to reduce the cost of sickness absence’
Flexible working commentator Adrian Lewis of Activ Absence agreed:
“Now that we have technology to manage people who work from home effectively, it is great to see large employers like Amazon using home working, as it can be cost effective for businesses as well as expanding the available talent pool. Home working helped us retain a valuable member of staff. Our other staff also work from home if they are too ill to come into the office but well enough to work. It’s been a great way to reduce our cost of sickness absence, the tech gives us the visibility we need.
“These jobs are US based but I believe flexible working opportunities will increase in the UK. We must remember however to keep our feet on the ground. Working like this won’t suit everyone and there can be complications when we try to juggle family and work responsibilities. This was hilariously highlighted by the BBC’s South Korean expert reporter Robert Kelly, whose child wandered in whilst he was delivering a live broadcast. That said, I’m sure the report only got extra coverage as the story went viral, so no real harm occurred! Ultimately, for me, it’s all about helping employers have more options – let’s hope Amazon find it works well for them.”