Does Amazon Flex actually give you a FLEXible schedule? Yes and No…

For many that pursue delivery blocks and dedicate much of their time to making Amazon Flex deliveries, it’s easy to forget why Amazon Flex is named Flex. If you go back to the sign-up page and website for Amazon Flex, you’ll see lots of snippets enticing new drivers with the promise of “flexible hours” and a “flexible schedule.” For many new drivers, however, the difficulty in getting delivery blocks and the lack of preassigned blocks on a weekly basis will make them think again about whether Amazon Flex truly offers this so-called flexibility.

So, does Amazon Flex actually give you a flexible schedule? The answer to this question is both yes and no, and what it comes down to is that there are two types of flexibility when it comes to work:

1) The flexibility to work when you want, and

2) the flexibility to NOT work when you want.

For most salaried jobs, you are required to work a certain number of hours and days a week (e.g. M-F, 9-5) and with taking that job you are essentially giving up the freedom to NOT work when you want. If you have one of these jobs and one day suddenly decide you don’t want to work on a Tuesday afternoon without a legitimate reason like sick leave, this can easily be grounds for disciplinary action or termination of employment. When you work for Amazon Flex, you are not required to work (unless you accept a delivery block and don’t cancel in time) and therefore you do indeed have the flexibility and freedom to NOT work if you don’t want to – no questions asked. Don’t feel like driving Amazon Flex for awhile? No problem – no need to apply for leave or take vacation / sick days or deal with an unpleasant manager – just don’t pick up any blocks. In that sense Amazon Flex does give you the flexibility to NOT work when you want, and that can certainly be beneficial.

On the other hand, Amazon Flex certainly does not offer you the ability to work when you want due to the challenges of getting delivery blocks assigned. Even if you become very skilled at looking for and getting delivery blocks assigned, it is very difficult to get many hours per day or week, not to mention working particular hours and days that fits around your other commitments. A gig with true flexibility would offer you the ability to not only say “I don’t want to work now” but also “I want to work now” – but with Amazon Flex it’s a bit of a lottery where it is unlikely that you will be able to work when you choose to, unless you get lucky. If you’re looking to make Amazon Flex a full time job and expect to rely on the income you earn from it, keep in mind that this form of flexibility – the freedom to actually get to work – is very limited.

One of the Amazon Flex videos tries to promote the advantages of driving for Amazon Flex if you are a stay-at-home parent. That certainly is the demographic for many Amazon Flex drivers, but it is extremely challenging to get the Amazon Flex delivery block schedule to fit with your schedule and other commitments consistently. Got 2 hours between dropping off your daughter at after-school soccer practice? Good luck trying to get that 4-6 PM block – unless you get lucky the chances of swiping and getting that assigned are going to be pretty low. Maybe a 6 – 8 PM block shows up – but that’s out of the question because your daughter’s soccer practice will be over and you need to pick her up. So much for work flexibility – it doesn’t matter if there isn’t available work to begin with. You can see how in reality, things are not very flexible, after all.

On the other hand, if you are a student, because you likely have a flexible schedule to begin with, you can manage the unpredictability of Amazon Flex blocks much better. Suddenly find a 4 hour delivery block? No problem – your studying can just be shifted to a later time! But that’s not true flexibility – you are adjusting your studying schedule to Amazon Flex!

The one form of flexibility that could be argued is legitimately beneficial is the ability to multitask while on your delivery route. For example, if you work a sales or phone-based job, Amazon Flex would not have an issue with you talking on your Bluetooth to your sales clients while completing your deliveries (as long as you complete them on time and safely!) Like podcasts? You can listen to them on your deliveries and learn lots of cool things and be productive while earning money. There’s definitely value in flexibility in how you get the work done.

The flexibility that Amazon Flex touts to new drivers is ambiguous at best. It’s an understandable setup and delivery blocks are the way they are because of what was determined to be best by Amazon Flex management’s perspective, but in some ways the way they market the gig to new drivers can certainly be misleading about the true nature of the flexibility in hours and scheduling. That being said, if you happen to have a nice setup that allows you to maximize the flexibility of Amazon Flex and your other commitments there are definitely opportunities for a rewarding experience working for Amazon Flex.