If Amazon thinks that this makes them come off well, they are wrong.
Amazon turns warehouse tasks into video games to make work ‘fun’
So what we’re gonna do, see, is we’re gonna take your crappy warehouse job and we’re gonna turn it into a video game so that you’ll think you’re playing and having a grand old time competing with your friends and will work faster as a result. Come on, kids! It’s going to be so much fun! No no no, nobody’s going to judge you for working too slowly. Never! Not here. We’re a family! Just don’t let me catch you going to the bathroom before you’ve made your quota.
And just to up the fun, we’re going to give you rewards. That’s right, prizes! If you do really well, we’ll give you swag bucks that you can exchange for fun things…as long as your definition of fun things is limited exclusively to company-branded garbage! Woo! Those water bottles are gonna be so handy if we decide to let you guys take breaks one day!
Seems a shame that they couldn’t have spent the money that went for this on better pay and other initiatives that might actually improve lives, but I’m just some idiot who hasn’t ever made billions of dollars by exploiting thousands of people, so what would I know?
As detailed in a new report from The Washington Post, Amazon has started installing screens next to workers’ stations that feature simple games with names like PicksInSpace, Mission Racer, and CastleCrafter. Their physical actions, assembling orders and moving items, are translated into virtual in-game moves. So, the faster someone picks items and places them in a box, for example, the faster their car will move around a virtual track.
The games are intended to make work less tedious, but also encourage higher productivity by pitting workers against one another in the virtual game world.
The games are voluntary and have so far been installed in five warehouses in the US and the UK, reports the Post. In at least one facility, managers reward workers who achieve high scores with Amazon “swag bucks.” This is a company currency that workers can only exchange for Amazon-branded merchandise, like t-shirts and water bottles.