Friday, April 16, 2021

Amazon’s warehouse ‘mini-games’ for workers expand in 20 states

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Few years ago, The Washington Post reported that Amazon was try to “gameify” work in its warehouses with some social mini-games. We haven’t heard much about this rather strange initiative since, but today Information published an article claiming that Amazon is in the midst of a “major expansion” of the program, called “FC Games”. What was originally declared in a warehouse in 2017 has now been deployed in 20 states, according to today’s report. Unsurprisingly, employee reaction was divided.

Employees who play any of six games at a put away and pick station (where workers prepare orders) can earn digital currency that can be used for virtual goods. This ultimately seems unimportant, but is a good example of Amazon’s “concern” for productivity. That said, the company says games are not used as a performance measure.

“Employees have told us that they appreciate the opportunity to participate in these desktop games, and we’re excited to take their feedback and expand the program to even more buildings in our network,” said Amazon spokesman Kent Hollenbeck said. Information. “Even with this expansion, the program remains completely optional for employees; they can switch in or out of different games depending on their preferences, can play anonymously or not play at all – the choice is theirs. “

As for the games themselves, that doesn’t look entirely different from a lot of things that appear in mainstream games, including leaderboards and competitions against other employees, both in a single warehouse or against players. people at other facilities in the United States. “The games aren’t particularly good, although some people like it because it helps improve the staggering boredom of a 10-hour shift,” an Amazon employee said. Information. But others said they don’t play the games because they encourage you to work faster, which could lead to injury. Amazon has been criticized for years over unsafe working conditions in its warehouses, and the last year of a global pandemic has highlighted the conditions workers face. Last month, New York state sued Amazon for showing a “blatant disregard” for worker safety during COVID-19.

We’ve reached out to Amazon for more information on the FC Games program and will update this story if we have any news.

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