Measuring employee performance is no easy task and one of the biggest employer complaints is workers slacking off at the office or taking long breaks without supervisors finding out. But not anymore.
Amazon has created a new technology to combat this problem and prevent its warehouse workers from shirking responsibilities. The employees at the e-commerce giant will now have to wear a new gadget that can detect every movement they make and even give them a signal when they slack off or pause to scratch their head.
New Wristband Tracking Technology by Amazon
Gone are the days when you could sneak out on your shift for a smoke or hang out by the water cooler for too long, chatting with coworkers. Now, your supervisor can know exactly where you are and what you’re doing thanks to Amazon’s wristband tracker that monitors workers’ performance and counts every movement they make in order to see if they slack off on their shift.
The wristband is also handy in determining how much time workers spend on their bathroom breaks. The technology has been patented by Amazon but the company hasn’t announced if it plans to sell such wristbands to other businesses.
Amazon has been in the news even since the announcement that it is planning on building a second headquarter. In the midst of rapid expansion, its understandable that the online retail giant doesn’t want to compromise on the quality of its workforce. The company is known for being tight-lipped about the technology it manufactures and tests in its warehouses before selling it, and the new wristband isn’t an exception to that rule.
Tracking Technology and Security Threat
The workplace culture and the tough management style adopted by the e-commerce giant has made headlines in the past and the new technology will simply be a way for the company to have complete control over their staff and push the workers to their limits in order to meet the increasing delivery targets.
However, the news reports have sparked a worldwide debate on the issue of security and privacy of employees. Critics say that the advancements being made in everyday tracking technology are putting people’s security at risk.
The risk was highlighted through a fitness app called Strava where users can compare their fitness activity to others around them. The tech industry was horrified to discover that the app also allowed users to track military activity in undisclosed U.S. military bases and spy outposts in Syria and Iraq. This information, if in the wrong hands, could be catastrophic for terrorism prevention efforts in these countries.
Amazon’s Extreme Workplace Culture
The amazon’s new technology works by using radio transmissions and sending ultrasonic pulses to detect the workers’ hand movements and steer them towards the right inventory bin. Whenever the worker reaches for the incorrect bin, the tracker beeps to indicate that they made a mistake.
This haptic feedback system can be very beneficial for minimizing human error and making sure that the orders are handled with greater accuracy. With the navigation from the wristbands, workers could also fulfill orders with a greater speed.
Safety advocates have voiced their concerns over this new surveillance method and how it could demotivate the workers. Former employees have already come forward with claims that the brutal work culture in the warehouses already uses several forms of tracking technology to monitor the workforce and the use of the new wristband tracker will not be a surprise to those who already work for Amazon.
Max Crawford, an ex-employee said that after working in the warehouse for a year, he already felt like a robot due to the excessive repetition of the same task every day. Crawford said that workers were urged to process hundreds of orders per hour and the extreme pressure got to him one day and he collapsed at his work station.