More Work From Home prospects for women with Amazon’s Virtual Customer Service programme
‘Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.’ – Thomas Merton
In keeping with the changing times and a growing need for flexible work options, especially for women, Amazon had adapted to the future of work with its Virtual Customer Service (VCS) programme back in 2017. When working from home took centre stage during the pandemic, Amazon’s CS team had only to step up what it had already begun years earlier, by helping people with fulfilling work opportunities from the comfort of their homes. Recently, the team has taken a step further by launching its first all-women VCS Centre in Bangalore.
Recognising the versatility of the remote working concept, Amazon had initially introduced its VCS program to create employment prospects for skilled candidates seeking more flexible work opportunities. In the last 3 years, the programme has allowed Amazon to reach out to a wider talent pool, ensuring greater diversity while also roping in talent who might not have been able to physically attend regular office due to various reasons.
For a lot of women, flexible options of working from home (WFH) stand for ‘opportunity’. There are many reasons why women find it difficult to join the workforce or are compelled to drop out early. Especially in India, the reasons could be anything from societal pressure to working late hours, leaving their hometown to work in metro cities, or managing a life–work balance.
For new mothers, caregivers and homemakers to stay-at-home parents, VCS is a flexible employment opportunity. As an employer of choice, Amazon has always believed in opening up diverse channels of employment to people and this programme has helped many, especially women, resume their careers once more.
With the launch of the first all-women Amazon VCS Centre in India, we bring you the inspiring stories of women across the country who have benefitted from the programme.
'Flexibility and financial security to support my family'
“I’ve been working for over 20 years, and have always had to travel for my jobs. Being a mother, I hoped for a job that would allow me the flexibility and financial security to support my family. Ever since I enrolled into Amazon’s VCS programme, I’ve been rid of the stress of travelling and the constant struggle of managing work and home,” says Sanjana.
Having heard from her LinkedIn connections about the VCS programme, this was Sanjana’s first ‘work from home’ experience. She adds, “Though this was a new experience, I was able to learn quickly with the constant support and guidance from my assigned buddy, my manager and the team. The on boarding process was smooth and I was also offered several online training and certification courses, to help me understand the processes better.”
Sanjana is delighted that she gets to spend more time with her daughter, something she missed when she worked on site. Happy with the experience, she has now referred her friends to the VCS program and was delighted when a few joined for the program.
“I really don’t know how I would have managed working during this pandemic period. The thought of leaving the house and risking my family’s health wasn’t a choice. I am grateful for the opportunity to make a living while keeping my family safe,” she concludes.
'Helped me get back into the workforce'
A health complication within the family had forced Priya to leave her customer service job 9 years ago. While Priya knew that she needed to focus on her family during that tough phase of her life, she missed working. After spending nearly a decade out of the workforce, she heard about Amazon’s VCS programme from a friend. Intrigued by the thought of being able to work from the comfort of her home, she enrolled into the programme a couple of months ago.
Priya couldn’t be happier today. She says, “I was looking for a role where I could work as well as take care of my daughter. I have an evening shift, so I start my day at 5:00 PM and end by 2:00 AM. Even though this is a new experience for me, Amazon’s training and guidelines have helped me to quickly get acquainted with the processes,” she says.
Priya loves the fact that now, she can work and take care of her daughter, at the same time. Her family has been very supportive. In fact, they were the ones who encouraged her to get back into the workforce and pursue her dreams. When it comes to her newfound work-life-balance, Priya adds, “When my daughter had to undergo brain surgery, I did not want to leave her alone at home. With Amazon, I don’t have to choose and I am so grateful for this opportunity.”
'Employee benefits have been of great help too'
Having previously held several jobs requiring her to be physically present at an office, Parul was used to the traditional in-office work life, but had never experienced working from home. She came across this WFH opportunity with Amazon while looking through a job website.
“Before I joined Amazon, I was commuting for almost 4 hours every day to get to work. It was very draining and didn’t seem like a sustainable employment option for me. It has already been two years since I joined the VCS programme and I have learned so much,” she shares.
Parul adds, “I was not really sure of how I would manage the technical aspects, if any, as I am not a very tech savvy person, but when I learnt more about the programme, my fears dissolved. Everything, right from my internet connection to the devices I use, is provided by Amazon. The company even provides training to ensure that I am well equipped to handle anything on the job.”
Hailing from a village in Himachal Pradesh, Parul had initially struggled to help her parents understand the WFH concept. Today when Parul is a group manager in charge of a large team, they love it that she gets more time to herself and can also look after the home.
While Parul loves the work she is doing with Amazon, she adds that Amazon’s employee benefits have been of great help too. Speaking about her struggle with depression, Parul mentioned that Amazon’s ‘Employee Assistance Program’ has helped her a lot. “VCS is a programme that has given me a platform to succeed and grow, irrespective of my family commitments or personal restrictions. I just want to thank Amazon for this opportunity.”