Amazon's latest innovation isn't a new subscription program or e-book reader: It's a 30-hour work week for certain employees on technical teams, the Washington Post reveals. A few dozen workers at the Seattle, Washington-based company will toil Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., receiving just 75 percent of the pay 40-hour-per-week workers are making but entitling them to all the same benefits.
"We want to create a work environment that is tailored to a reduced schedule and still fosters success and career growth," the Journal quotes a post from the company explaining the program. "This initiative was created with Amazon's diverse workforce in mind and the realization that the traditional full-time schedule may not be a 'one size fits all' model."
Like the Journal, CNet speculates the program might be part of Amazon's response to a damaging New York Times investigation of the company's corporate culture in piece published last year that painted a bleak picture of employees crying at desks etc. etc.
"There has for a very long time been a stigma against working reduced hours, or part-time work," president and founder of the Families and Work Institute Ellen Galinsky tells the Journal, speaking generally of American work culture. "Even names like that, 'part-time' or 'reduced,' make it seem like a deviation from the norm, like you're doing less." At a company with the reach of Amazon, she appears to surmise, such a program could play a crucial role in destigmatization.
Another benefit that Columbia Business School professor Rita McGrath gestures to: "Amazon isn't very good at promoting and keeping women, and the irony is that Amazon's customer base is very diverse... So you have this kind of deaf ear in tech to this vital group of customers." If the program catches on and expands, "it offers an opportunity to tap into people that you wouldn’t normally because of the way you structure your workweek," she concluded.