Last week, Amazon was on the hot search due to its blockbuster acquisition of "MGM". At the same time, another confusing behavior of Amazon also attracted public attention, but this time, it was complained by the entire network.
It is the rest pavilion that Amazon recently announced in the factory-AmaZen.
Amazon “rest pavilion'' mocked by the crowd
AmaZen, at first glance is reminiscent of the telephone booth on the side of the road in ancient times.
It is the same size as a telephone booth and is inserted in the middle of the Amazon warehouse, but it is called the "small black house of despair" by netizens.
"WorkingWell" is a series of projects that support the physical and mental health of employees. The purpose is to allow employees to temporarily escape hard work and become happier, healthier and safer.
AmaZen allows employees to perform mental health and mindfulness exercises in this small pavilion to help employees "recharge and rejuvenate."
Amazon showed AmaZen through a video.
Open the door of this small blue pavilion, and the configuration inside looks like a box in a childhood Internet cafe—a chair, a small table, and a desktop computer.
In order to reflect the characteristics of "psychological healing", this space is equipped with sound-absorbing materials. There is also a pot of plants on the table. There is a fan in it, and there seems to be a sticker that mimics the blue sky and white clouds on the top.
In this simple simulation environment, it seems that employees need to work harder than work to pretend that they are in the beautiful nature.
Turning on the computer does not make you surf the Internet happily. A series of meditation videos will be played inside, guiding you to meditate, positively affirm yourself, listen to sounds to bring inner peace and so on.
Leila Brow, an Amazon employee who invented this interactive kiosk, said that he hopes that people can focus on their spiritual and emotional world in this quiet space.
There is nothing wrong with meditation that allows people to focus on the spiritual world, but in this closed, low-profile Internet cafe box, the lowered head is a static potted plant that seems to have lost its life. At that time, there was probably only one thought in my mind:
Who am I, where am I, what am I doing? ? ?
After the video was released, public opinion on the Internet was also in an uproar.
Some people say that Amazon put a rest pavilion in the warehouse to fight anxiety, which is tantamount to putting an air conditioner in the Arctic to fight the climate crisis.
Amazon imagines employees in the rest booth like this:
In fact, the employees are like this in the rest pavilion:
After the employees take a short break in this small pavilion, the pain may become more turbulent in the future, because they will go back to work soon, and what they stay here is only too late to go to the bathroom and can only release their grief in the mineral water bottle.
When you walk into AmaZen, all employees may look at you and think-look, this person has a problem with his work status and is about to go for psychological healing.
When you walk to the rest pavilion in full view, it is like walking to a private mental hospital.
Some people even compared this rest pavilion to the suicide machine in the animated series "Flying Out of the Future".
These meditation kiosks are simply ridiculous. Amazon should invest in providing massage services for employees, or work equipment that makes work easier, such as adjustable height tables, etc., but this is usually too expensive for Amazon.
Seeing that the trend of online public opinion became more and more negative, Amazon quickly deleted the video and post announcing the AmaZen rest booth.
But the video of the rest booth did not disappear. Many people saved the video and then continued to send it out to continue to attack Amazon.
▲ AmaZen rest pavilion considered by netizens to be like a “coffin''
In fact, there is nothing wrong with the rest pavilion itself. Netizens' fierce complaints about this are mainly due to Amazon's high-pressure working environment and harsh working conditions, as well as their avoidance of solving problems.
Scandal about the "sweatshop"
Amazon's market value ranks second in the world and is one of the world's largest technology giants. However, it has repeatedly been condemned by employees around the world for its "sweatshop" scandal.
▲ Picture from: TR MONITOR
Since 2013, workers at the seven Amazon factories in Germany have launched various strikes for a long time to protest against Amazon's poor living environment and meagre wages.
In the factory of this technology giant, it is said that many Amazon workers have to rely on public aid food stamps and government medical housing subsidies to make ends meet.
▲ Picture from: Sean Gallup / Getty
In Amazon warehouses, most people work linearly. Employees have a fixed working space and basically repetitive work content. According to a packaging worker , they basically complete 104 packaging and packaging tasks per hour, which is almost a race against time, efficient and fast work. ——From picking goods, scanning and viewing information, printing labels, choosing the right packaging box, packing firmly, and attaching labels, all a set of processes can basically only take 30 seconds to complete.
In the core area of this company's logistics, productivity is king in everything.
Last month, in order to meet the needs of customers to place orders at night, Amazon introduced a new work system "megacycle". Employees need to work in shifts for 10 and a half hours at night, which is called "cemetery shifts" by employees .
▲ Picture from: Morning Star
In 2015, a long article in the "New York Times" also revealed the scandal of Amazon employees being constantly monitored. In 2019, researcher Stacy Mitchell once again exposed the monitoring problems of Amazon warehouses.
They said that Amazon will use automated systems to monitor and collect data on each employee, analyze their productivity, and generate automatic warnings. If it finds people who are too slow or inefficient, AI will directly fire them .
Moreover, the company has also formed a “rank and dismissal” culture (Rank and Yank) . Through in-depth mining of employee data, they have allowed employees to compete fiercely. Just like Darwin’s theory, they continue to meet high-intensity work requirements. After being dismissed, employees can only make up for the low performance caused by the rest if they work harder.
Nearly compulsive data monitoring has caused great pressure and anxiety to employees.
On Black Friday in 2020, a trade day that is extremely important for Amazon, Amazon employees in 15 countries have begun strike plans, including the United States, Mexico, Spain, India, Australia, and France. They marched and demonstrated also to strive for better working conditions and bonuses for high-intensity work during the epidemic.
During the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Amazon grew into a trillion-dollar company, and Jeff Bezos became the first company in history to accumulate $200 billion in assets. These are inseparable from the support of the bottom employees.
This is quite ironic in comparison with the situation of employee protests.
▲On July 15, 2019, Amazon facility workers protested in Shakopi, Minnesota. Picture from: cnbc
This year, an Amazon deliveryman broke the news that Amazon is compulsory to install a four-lens AI camera in the car. The camera system Driveri behind it will always monitor the driver's body language, vehicle speed, and whether he is drowsy, and evaluate his Work performance, and use video to capture all work content.
"This is a complete personal insult," he said in a Reuters report after he resigned. "If Amazon doesn't trust us to do this job, if they feel they need to look at us every minute and every second, why should they hire us?"
Under the monitored high-pressure working conditions, the working environment of employees is not necessarily very comfortable.
Especially in large factories, there are not many restrooms. Employees have little time to go to the restroom, and they have to be timed when they go to the restroom. Paid shit does not exist at all.
This makes some employees have to use the small toilet in the bottle. But this is very inconvenient for female employees, they even have to buy their own female urinals. This situation is even more prominent in Amazon's delivery staff, who even bring bags to the big toilet on the way .
In March of this year, the "Urine Bottle Incident" finally broke out. Initially, Amazon's official Twitter account denied it, saying, "No one would really believe it? If this is true, no one will work for us."
Later, they apologized and acknowledged the incident on April 2nd , and said that finding the bathroom is indeed a problem faced by the entire industry.
Low salary, high pressure, long hours, little rest, being monitored…Various working conditions and working environment deficiencies have kept Amazon caught in disputes between employee protests and public opinion crusades.
Good working environment, solve basic problems first
Although Amazon has always defended these negative opinions , including claiming that the company has safe working conditions, reasonable minimum wages, generous benefits, etc., it is clear that the defense is either denied or stepped on the point. .
After a series of shocking events, internal and external pressures have allowed Amazon to continuously improve its working conditions and working environment in the past year.
"WorkingWell" is one of the actions they hope to take to enhance the company’s reputation. The project has been carried out in 350 Amazon warehouses in North America and Europe. In this comprehensive plan to support employee safety and health, Amazon said it plans to invest more than 3% this year. Billion dollars .
In addition to the aforementioned rest pavilion AmaZen, they also invited medical representatives and athlete trainers trained in first aid to build a health center that provides safety services for employees, provide nutrition and community health services to employees, and teach them how to eat healthy.
And at the workstation, employees will be prompted to warm up before starting work, and perform physical and mental exercises every hour.
Team members will also gather to learn basic safety tips, such as correct bending and lifting techniques.
Amazon stated that it strives to reduce the number of recorded industrial accidents by half by 2025, and at the same time improve the mental health of employees, in order to improve Amazon's image in improving labor rights.
Safety and health do need to be paid attention to. However, the most important needs of employees have not improved much.
As a company with increasing turnover, Amazon should invest the money it earns to build some mini rest pavilions. It is better to invest in the addition of good sanitary facilities; to spend money to hire athlete trainers, medical doctors, and develop projects, it is better to first consider how to give it. More employees and higher salaries will enable them to have a better life; to improve the safety of the working environment, it is better to first allow employees to have enough work and rest periods to eliminate the signs of more health problems…
Letting the working environment of employees approach the limit, and then remedying the situation afterwards is just useless.
▲ Picture from: vice
Regarding a good working environment, when we graduated, we were yearning for those big companies with avant-garde designs, gyms, cafes, and even swimming pools. When their employees passed by those places with a sense of ease, they exuded the brilliance of the elite.
Of course, under the glamour of the working environment, it is very likely that "996" will accompany them. Perhaps these working environments that can be easily integrated into life are to firmly attract employees and make them treat the company as a second home. But this does not prevent them from exhausting their energy and leading high salaries, trying to integrate their lives into this work environment that seems to be at the top of the pyramid.
We have also envied the open office environment brought by Microsoft and Google. They are like a stylish and flexible social square, where the openness and innovation of the Internet are readily visible. Although the open office also fell into decline, a more diverse and interesting working environment has been derived with it, and it has become a focus of many employees when looking for a job.
And SpaceX relies on its tolerant and innovative corporate culture to allow talents from all walks of life to compete for jobs. SpaceX employees once said :
We came to SpaceX not to meet Musk's needs, but to meet our needs.
When we pay attention to the working environment of these companies, we will pay attention to their image design, the living conditions of the employees, and the company's cultural philosophy, just because we are not worried about the most basic work treatment.
When the most basic contribution can get the rewards it deserves, the other parts become extra points. When the most basic treatment cannot be satisfied, everyone will focus on this spearhead.
In the past 26 years, Amazon has gone from an ordinary online bookstore to a giant that can influence the entire industry and everyone's consumption habits.
This time, Amazon’s new plan can see that they are acting and working hard to provide employees with labor benefits, but it is far from enough to smooth the entire history of employees fighting for their rights.
They still need more grounded measures to solve the most essential problems.
Otherwise, every move to avoid the most important things will easily turn into a joke in this Internet age.
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