No matter where one works in the world, a certain amount of efficient productivity is required. That much is a given. However, at Jeff Bezos’s Amazon, they take worker expectations to the next level.
2015 undercover expose in the New York Times exposed a place that even Bezos called “dystopian” and “soulless.” Workers were forced to carry on regardless of injury. Workers were expected to touch a shipment every 30 seconds. Shifts were ten hours (no one reads the federal workplace guidelines anymore). Camera surveillance was all over the warehouse.
In short, an Amazon warehouse was depicted as being a miserable place to work.
Now, the online retailing giant is taking a step farther in the quest to wring every last little bit of productivity from their workers. Last week, Amazon was granted a patent for a wristband that transmits the position of a worker’s hand to a central location.
According to GeekWire, which first discovered the patents last week:
“The wristbands provide a no-muss, no-fuss method for verifying that the correct items are being processed. The inventors say the system circumvents the need for “computationally intensive and expensive” monitoring by means of computer vision, a la Amazon Go.
All in a quest to keep costs down, of course, this wristband is the ultimate in checking up on personnel. No backside scratching allowed on the job, that’s for sure.
One would think such technology would have limited use in the workforce. The application would mostly be in warehouse and factory jobs…and would further tether a worker to his or her tasks to be sure that they were being done in quick time and without error.
At a certain point, treating workers like they were part of the old classic film “Metropolis” is going to backfire. There is only so much order fulfillment can offer a worker. A paycheck is about it. And having unrealistic expectations enforced by technology…one would have to think twice before accepting such a job.