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October 18, 2021

American Express: Introducing Amex Flex – Our New Way Of Working

New York, NY, October 18, 2021 – The following memo was sent today to all American Express colleagues from Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephen J. Squeri:

Since my note to you last month, the Executive Committee and I have updated the company’s new way of working model to provide greater flexibility for colleagues while ensuring we preserve the important benefits of our special in-person culture. Colleague feedback has played a key role in shaping this new model, and I want to thank everyone for your thoughtful input.

Today, I’m introducing our new model, which we’re calling Amex Flex. I’ll focus on the philosophy behind Amex Flex and the enterprise guidelines we’ve developed that provide for a variety of ways to work across the company. Business unit leaders, in conjunction with our country executive teams, will use these enterprise guidelines to determine which options will work best for their teams and the customers they serve. You will receive more specific information from your leaders about how the model will generally apply to your organization in the next few days.

The Amex Flex model will go into effect in locations only when we make our full return to the office, which will start with the U.S., U.K. and Germany on January 24 at the earliest. Other markets will make their full return to office and transition to Amex Flex at different times based on local conditions and regulations.

Our Philosophy: The Best of Both Worlds

Our traditional way of working has changed. The office is no longer the only place where most colleagues can effectively get work done, as we’ve proven throughout the last 18 months. We want to build on the progress we’ve made working virtually, including how we’ve become more efficient and agile, gained greater flexibility to manage our professional and personal lives, and levelled the playing field for colleagues across band levels and locations.

At the same time, the office will continue to play an important role in Amex's future. Being together, in person, has huge benefits that our colleagues have missed and want to regain, including spontaneous connections and idea sharing, meeting new colleagues and rekindling existing relationships, team bonding and camaraderie, workspaces designed for creativity and collaboration, and more opportunities for mentorship, in-person coaching, and networking.

Ultimately, our goal is to achieve the best of both worlds – recapturing the creativity, connections, collaboration and relationship building of working together in person, while also retaining the flexibility and progress we have made together in this virtual world.

Amex Flex – Our New, More Flexible Model

Amex is a large and diverse company with many different functions and job types. There is no single approach that will work best for every team, so we’re building in more flexibility with a range of options to meet the various needs across the organization. The new Amex Flex model will have three basic work designations – hybrid, onsite, and fully virtual – with the hybrid category offering the most variety to accommodate business and colleague needs.

We fundamentally believe that in order to fuel our special culture, it’s important for most colleagues to spend a portion of their time together in the office. Most of our colleagues want this too – in our survey earlier this year, nearly 80 percent said they want to come back to the office at least some of the time. As a result, we expect a large majority of our colleagues will work hybrid schedules. At the same time, we expect to have more fully virtual colleagues than we did pre-pandemic, and those who need or want to work primarily onsite will be able to do so. Let me share some additional details about Amex Flex and its three designations.

Amex Flex Has three Work Designations

Hybrid

The hybrid way of working provides for a mix of in-office and virtual days, with more flexibility for colleagues to choose which days of the week they come into the office. Because there are different variations of hybrid, schedules will look different from team to team based on the nature of their work, the need for in-person collaboration and other factors. We expect that the majority of hybrid colleagues will be in the office 2 days per week on average and can work from home on the other days. We also expect that teams within a business unit will determine their schedules and will define common days when they are in together as a team. Of course, hybrid colleagues can come into the office more often if they’d like.

In addition, leaders may designate certain “team days” for hybrid colleagues on an ad-hoc basis to gain the benefits of being together for business unit meetings, training or special events.

Onsite

Colleagues in this category will work in the office 4-5 days per week. We expect this will constitute a relatively small percentage of our population and will include those whose roles can only be performed in the office, such as on-site security, technology concierge or certain facilities operations roles, as well as anyone who is unable to perform their job effectively from home. That said, anyone who wants to come into the office every day can choose the onsite designation. New hires in certain business units may start out fully onsite to complete training and orientation and then move to a hybrid schedule.

Fully Virtual

Survey data from earlier this year indicates that about 20 percent of colleagues want to work virtually, including those who already had virtual arrangements pre-pandemic, and our experience over the past 18 months supports our decision to build in a fully virtual designation that more colleagues will be able to take advantage of going forward.

In our updated model, virtual colleagues will work from home exclusively or for the vast majority of the time, only coming into the office a few times a year, if at all.

As a reminder, all colleagues who had virtual working arrangements before the pandemic may keep them, including but not limited to home-based servicing and field sales colleagues. Colleagues who want to have a new virtual arrangement will be able to request one. Virtual working requests will be assessed based on consistent enterprise criteria as well as country and business unit level guidance, subject to local requirements and practices.

We expect details on enterprise criteria, country-specific guidelines and the process for requesting new virtual arrangements to be communicated on November 1. We will aim to make requesting a virtual arrangement as simple and consistent as possible for those colleagues who are interested in pursuing one.

Work From Anywhere Component

As part of Amex Flex, all colleagues, except for those few who are required to work onsite, will have the opportunity to work up to 4 calendar weeks from a location other than their primary work location each year, during which time they will not have to come into the office at all. This 4-calendar-week period is inclusive of our pre-existing policy allowing colleagues to work up to 15 days outside their country of work. For example, hybrid colleagues may work 4 weeks from a location other than their primary work location, 15 days of which can be outside their designated country of work, and not have to come into the office during this time.

The 4 weeks do not have to be taken consecutively; however, the time must be taken in calendar week increments. All other policy requirements will apply, including the location you are working from must meet Amex security, privacy, and connectivity standards. Colleagues will work with their leaders to ensure that their plans do not conflict with the needs of the team or the business.

We believe the Amex Flex model will result in clear benefits for our people and help our business remain strong. Most colleagues have told us that they would like variety and flexibility in their work environment and experience. We trust one another to do what is right for our colleagues and our customers. We are in learning mode, and together we will make the appropriate changes over time in order to retain our position as one of the world’s best places to work, an accomplishment that we have worked hard to achieve and will work even harder to build upon.

American Express has the best people, and we aim to help everyone thrive at work and in life because we believe the best way to back our customers is to back you, our colleagues. Our culture is special because of you and the relationships and connections you build here, both in person and virtually. We designed our new Amex Flex work model to enable our special culture to grow even stronger into the future.

Thank you for your continued commitment to our customers and our company.

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