I started my journey at Amazon in April 2020, right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. While my career up to that point had mostly been in the Grocery Retail industry, I was ready for a new challenge. So, when the world transitioned to working from home, I was actually happy to leave the house and go to work. Even in the middle of extreme circumstances, I felt honoured to be fulfilling orders in a time of great need. I never thought that my work at Amazon would become so critical for the essential movement of goods across the UK. Since then, I’ve made the Bristol Fulfilment Centre (BRS1) my home away from home. Here’s what my job entails and how I’ve made the most of my career at Amazon so far.

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The Daily Routine of an Amazon Packer

We usually start our day with a team meeting at 8 a.m. Everyone is then assigned a packing station. We have two different packing stations whether it’s for singular or multiple items—there is even a special station just for gift wrapping. We have some very speedy and experienced gift wrappers on our team, who are especially busy during Christmas peak times. Gift packers get special training for 20 hours over two days with an experienced instructor.

After the team brief, I go to my assigned station and kickstart my packing sprints. The night team would already have prepared everything for our packing duties, so that we can get started straight away! The conveyor belt delivers new containers stacked with products. It slides down smoothly, close enough so I can easily take out items, scan, and pack them. The scanner will tell me which package size to pick.

An Amazon packer at the packing station.
Cheryl can pick from up to 14 different packaging sizes.

Every station has a shelf of up to 14 different package sizes, nicely stacked and coded, so I can match it with what I see on the screen. I know where each package type sits and take it from the shelf to start packing. The last thing I do is stick the receiver’s barcode. It goes back to the conveyor belt ready to move on to SLAM (Scan, Label, Apply, Manifest) machines and then shipping. This is where shipping labels with astonishing speed are applied, contrary to the name, a light touch. For quality control, the package is weighed to make sure the contents match the order. At the end of my shift I prepare the station and set it up so that the night team can get started with their packing shift straight away.

packages on the conveyor belt.
The last thing Cheryl does is stick the receiver's barcode for to go to the next fulfilment stage.

My colleagues and I like to participate in a friendly competition and sometimes compare our speed and packing records of the day. It’s fun and gives us a few laughs along the way, but in the end, we are really just working as one team with the same goals.

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Opportunities for growth as a packing associate

My job consists of so much more than packing. Since I started, I’ve had the opportunity to train as a coach for new associates and supervise some of them in their training phase. It’s a way to give back and help others who are just starting off–I still remember how daunting it could be at the start, but helpful managers and more tenured colleagues were able to guide me.

Amazon employee at packing station.

Another aspect I enjoy is being involved in different affinity groups. I am particularly passionate about supporting other women who are caregivers or need emotional support. There are so many ways to build a strong team spirit, which is why I’m also part of an events committee where we organise summer or family days. Those are my favourite events as everyone comes together to connect outside of the day-to-day work. I also like to celebrate particular team milestones and achievements, especially after hectic periods during seasonal shopping events.

Work really is what you make of it. And I have truly been able to make the most of my relatively short time here. I love the diversity, the buzz and working alongside other hardworking people every day.