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The Importance of a Supportive Employer and Flexible Work Environment

Amy Welter, SWE Member and System Interaction Engineer at HP Inc., reflects positively on the flexible work environment she has during the current global pandemic.
The Importance Of A Supportive Employer And Flexible Work Environment

The current world pandemic has highlighted to me the importance of an employer who is supportive of the employee, both professionally and personally, and encourages a flexible work environment.  I work for HP Inc., and I feel very fortunate to work for them right now.  Having a flexible working arrangement has been a defining characteristic of my career and is something that I value highly.

The Importance Of A Supportive Employer And Flexible Work Environment
Members of Willamette Valley SWE at the National Conference in November 2019

Three main components create a flexible work environment: time, location and assignment.  I have utilized all these components throughout my career at HP. 

Flexibility with Time

Flexibility with time is varying when you are working within the day as well as the total time spent on work activities.  Many engineers shift their work hours to accommodate meetings across time zones (coming in early or staying late), specific projects (timed-testing and specialty tests), exercise programs, family activities, and volunteer projects.  I volunteered with SWE outreach programs and FIRST Robotics, and for both activities I left work early to spend my time encouraging students to pursue engineering careers.  I have also shifted my time to volunteer for non-engineering activities, like elementary school field trips, doctors’ visits, and sporting events for my kids.  The willingness of HP to accommodate these activities allows me to be a complete person and fills my bucket, creating a happy employee.


Flexibility with Location

The Importance Of A Supportive Employer And Flexible Work Environment

Flexibility with location is something that many employees are experiencing currently.  However, before the pandemic began, working from home was a key component to my success as a parent and employee.  Right now, I’m working from home 100%, and while it’s not ideal, it enables me to help my kids with their schoolwork and take care of family matters.  During “normal times”, I would take morning or evening telecons from home to allow quick transitions from work to kid activities.  Some employees even use alternate locations as a home base during conferences or while visiting family.

Assignment Flexibility

Assignment flexibility allows managers to work with individuals to vary the experience for optimal productivity and fit, depending on one’s life situation and the business situation.  Certain projects lend itself to remote management while others require on-site or in-person presence.  Assignment flexibility requires buy-in from team members and management.  Two ways I have experienced assignment flexibility are first, being assigned to projects that don’t require extensive travel when my kids were little, and second, taking on a role that involved test areas which were able to continue work while I was not physically present, allowing my impact to not be limited to my personal work hours.  I also see this flexibility firsthand as coworkers grapple with medical issues or home situations demand more attention than work.

The Importance Of A Supportive Employer And Flexible Work Environment
Amy Welter and her family on a hike in the Oregon Cascades

“Management by Objective” is necessary to create this flexible environment.  Employees can contribute to the best of their ability throughout their career, benefitting both the employer and the employee.   Employees are happier, healthier, and more dedicated to coworkers when allowed to be contributing members of their communities in addition to accomplishing their work objectives.

As I prepare to travel to another state and care for my mother, a recovering COVID-19 patient who was on a ventilator and hospitalized for four weeks, I am reminded of why I value the flexible work environment.  I plan to work remotely and use some PTO during my time away from my family.  Throughout her illness, my management and coworkers have been extremely supportive of my needs and accommodating with my projects.  They have gone out of their way to show care and concern.  This isn’t the first time.  I have seen these caring actions and flexibility offered to many employees throughout my tenure at HP.  I realize that not every job and function has this remote work capability, and I am grateful for my current situation.

For more information about HP Inc. jobs, visit
Want to hear about other amazing women who work at HP? Check out HP’s blog featuring Women in Tech.

About the Author:

Amy Welter has worked for HP Inc. for 10 years.  She earned a BSE in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2001.  Amy has been an active member of SWE since her sophomore year in college and continues to participate in the Willamette Valley Section.  In her free time, Amy enjoys playing games with her husband and two children, volunteering for numerous organizations including Girl Scouts, church, and schools, and exploring the Oregon outdoors

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