The company has formed entire teams of specialized employees whose work is organized around the same core part-time schedule.
Amazon.com is testing a new formula for techie employment: teams made up entirely of part-timers averaging 30 hours a week.
The company says it created the initiative because the traditional 40-hour week “may not be a ‘one size fits all’ model,” according to a post on Eventbrite.com.
So these teams, consisting of information-technology specialists in the human-resources department, will work from Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the remaining 14 hours distributed as flex work throughout the week.
Amazon already employs part-timers in highly specialized jobs. What’s new here is that entire teams are organized around the same core part-time schedule.
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The experiment comes at a time of more alternatives to the 9-to-5 tradition. “An average workweek of 40 hours nowadays looks old-fashioned and backward,” Anna Coote, head of social policy at the New Economics Foundation, wrote a couple of years ago in the opinion section of The New York Times.
In some European countries, such as the Netherlands, a large percentage of adults work part time.
Amazon’s test doesn’t mean the company is redoing itself in the image of Amsterdam. So far, the test is limited to three “two pizza” teams — so called because they consist of a number of people who can be comfortably fed with two pizzas, or about a dozen people. There are still more than 20,000 hard-charging full-timers at Amazon’s headquarters in South Lake Union and downtown.
But the move, if successful and involving more teams, could lead from a place with a reputation of devotion to the clock to one with a way of working better suited to some staffers’ personal needs.
The part-time staffers will receive the same benefits as full-time employees, Amazon wrote in a post.
“While the part-time employees’ projects will be carefully managed to align with schedules, they will share the same objective of all of our teams: to build great things on behalf of our customers.”