Amazon wants to make working in its warehouses less tedious by turning it into a game

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

The Washington Post—owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos—reported on the program, which has been rolled out to five warehouses across the US and UK. It consists of retro-style games with names such as "MissionRacer," "PicksInSpace," "Dragon Duel," and "CastleCrafter," which are displayed on employees’ workstations.

The games are linked to the workers' scanning devices, thereby registering each task they carry out and progressing the gameplay. The titles are designed so individuals, teams, and even entire floors can compete against each other. While no monetary rewards or bonuses are given to the winners, there are virtual badges, bragging rights, and “swag bucks,” which can be used to buy Amazon-branded apparel and gear, on offer.

It might help with the boredom of the job, but for Amazon this is all about increasing efficiency among workers. The company says playing the games is optional, but as the speed at which employees perform their duties is constantly monitored, many may feel they have little choice but to participate, lest they start underperforming and risk losing their jobs.

Amazon repeatedly defends the working conditions in its warehouses, but last year saw employees in Europe go on strike to protest Prime Day. The company also uses Amazon FC ambassadors to respond to negative tweets with positive messages.

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rub900

TS Addict
Amazon and Jeff B. Can fall off a cliff. If the US worker had the balls of EU workers they would be striking all the time. Nope, US gives Jeff a pass and he bends every one over and makes billions. Laughing at stupid people the whole time.
 

mgwerner

TS Booster
"Not only is the job reported to be physically demanding, but it’s also monotonous and boring."

How is this a poor reputation? It seems more reflective of the millennial need to be entertained all the time. Work is supposed to be hard, and your reward is your pay, not entertainment. In a free market, if you don't like it, get another job.
Stop whining.
 

mgwerner

TS Booster
Nothing more boring than warehouse work, anywhere. That's why they partner with temporary agencies.
If you think there is nothing more boring than warehouse work, you've not had many jobs. Much more boring things to do for a living out there. The point remains, work is for earning a living, not for being entertained.
 
I wonder if these complaints might have more to do with personality types than actual working conditions. I think some personality types are better for some jobs. I think people who crave constant socializing. Often do well with work place politics but get bored very quickly in some types of work, complain a lot and sometimes participate in negative stuff at work. It would be interesting to see statistics looking at warehouse workers personality types, their level of contentment and productivity levels over time. Being a little on the quiet side myself. Having done some warehouse work and loved it. I wouldn't be shocked to find out that the more introverted are better suited for warehouse work lol.
 
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Danny101

TS Guru
If you think there is nothing more boring than warehouse work, you've not had many jobs. Much more boring things to do for a living out there. The point remains, work is for earning a living, not for being entertained.
Sure, there's probably equally boring jobs. If your mind isn't in it, it just isn't. Fortunately, there's plenty of other options. At the end of the day, you do what you got to do to survive. This isn't a contest for the most boring. I'm just stating how warehouse work is and that's why it's hard to keep people. It's a job. A job is boring. Unlike a career, which keeps you engaged. Certainly, there are people who are fine with warehouse work, Good for them. Thumbs up!
 
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Black Paper

TS Member
"Not only is the job reported to be physically demanding, but it’s also monotonous and boring."

How is this a poor reputation? It seems more reflective of the millennial need to be entertained all the time. Work is supposed to be hard, and your reward is your pay, not entertainment. In a free market, if you don't like it, get another job.
Stop whining.
"Stop Whining" ? Ironic.
The problem Amazon is trying to fix is just that; uninterested workers ARE leaving and it's Amazon trying to keep them engaged.

I don't condone the practice of 'gamifying' work and have been in companies where this flawed idea is approached. The real way to keep workers is to pay your employees a proper living wage and treat them with respect.

To Amazon's credit, they have raised the wages (while removing stock options) of their employees, but sometimes when you literally cannot even go to the bathroom without violating their fulfillment demands thus risking your employment, it's not enough.

Games do not justify losing their humanity.
 

CMH1 Cindi

TS Rookie
CMH1 is one of the FCs that have this program, playing the games is COMPLETELY OPTIONAL. I play them all the time, it keeps me engage and motivated plus makes my day go by way faster. I also have friends that don't play them because they think its a distraction. I've been a picker for over 2yrs and not one time have I fear losing my job.
 
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BFI4Carol

TS Rookie
We've had the games here at BFI4 for over a year now. They are just a little extra something to break up the day. I don't play them every day, but I like to see where I stack up against my peers, both in my FC and across the NA network.
 

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