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Thursday, 22 October 2020

My WFH Routine: Omar Elsahy, Amazon / Souq Egypt country manager

Omar Elsahy, Amazon / Souq Egypt country manager: Each week, my Morning / WFH Routine looks each week at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Omar Elsahy (LinkedIn), Country Manager of Amazon/Souq Egypt.

My name is Omar Elsahy and I look after Amazon / Souq in Egypt. We are a family of three — my wife Eman and I are blessed with our son Adam. And as of last month, our baby bulldog Lucious. My job is to ensure that we hire the best teams and support them to make good decisions. That happens by building a diverse and inclusive culture of empowered leaders and owners who are laser focused on delighting our customers every day. It’s super exciting, fast-paced and ever-changing. Every day brings its own challenges, some of which are easy to navigate and others that take time to think and debate on, but overall the velocity keeps us passionate and with purpose.

I’m an early riser, so I’m up by 5:15am. I start my day with coffee and juice and take 10-15 minutes to watch the sunrise in silence, then I shift gears to review daily reports for work and get my news updates from Enterprise and Apple News. I get a workout started at 6:30am, and then work starts at 8:30am — unless I have an early Seattle call. Typically, I try to wrap up my day by 6:30pm, unless I have follow-up calls, so I can get at least two hours of quality time with the family before bedtime — which during the week seems to have become the same for Adam and me.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, the retail sector, including e-commerce, has been constantly evolving to reflect the new norm we live in. One of the most prominent changes we observed was increased demand for everyday products including groceries, food, hygiene products, and work from home supplies. We also witnessed increased demand from lifestyle categories reflecting the change in consumer behavior including kitchen, entertainment, and sports. Businesses have also fast-tracked their online presence to reach their customers.

Egypt is an important market segment for us — one we will continue to invest and innovate for on behalf of our customers. We currently have a workforce of more than 3,500, with a fulfillment center and nine delivery stations across Egypt.

At the beginning of the lockdown, we began implementing proactive safety measures at our facilities across the region to protect employees and customers, and updated our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritize covid-19 related safety measures along with stocking and delivering items that were a higher priority for our customers. Regionally, we have increased our workforce by 30%.

At home, my first priority was setting up my work space, which is key regardless of its size. It’s important that it be dedicated to work so that work doesn’t seep into the rest of your life. I set up an office that used to be a glorified storage room — and it’s been incredibly important in keeping me focused.

I stay organized by relying on calendars to manage my time and meetings. Everything needs to be purposeful, but you also need to carve out time to listen to your teams in forums that allow for more than status reporting and reviews. Relentless prioritization is critical. Get very comfortable saying no to things that do not scale long-term and move the needle in how you better serve your customers. This is a key time to spend thinking, empowering teams and pushing decisions down as much as possible to allow us to operate at scale.

I was proud to see so many of our local leaders step up and make right high velocity decisions under pressure, which is reflective of good judgment. I used to believe that WFH could never be effective. I was proven wrong and stand corrected.

When I’m not at work, I love to spend time with my family. One of my favorite activities is BBQing with some blues playing in the background. I have been trying to read fewer business books and focus more on different genres. I’m currently reading Sapiens. I also like to team sports and documentaries, so I really enjoyed The Last Dance. And because I appreciate good cooking and art, I recently watched The Final Table, which was amazing. Amazon Prime has been upping the production game recently and putting up a few really cool shows.

When this is all over, the one thing I want to do is travel, travel, then travel some more. I miss the discovery, the walks, the food, the planes, even the queues, even passport control. Just want to travel.

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