Amazon has announced that it is expanding its gamification program that encourages warehouse workers to work harder and increase their efficiency. The program creates a competitive environment in the warehouse, with employees competing with each other in meeting daily quotas for a chance to win digital rewards, including virtual pets.
The program, which has been running for a while now, is known as FC Games. It features up to six arcade-style games that employees can play after completing set warehouse tasks. It’s been common knowledge since 2019 that Amazon uses gamification programs to try and incentivize employees to work harder.
Workstation games, in particular, have been quite popular. While it’s not clear whether the strategy works or not, it seems Amazon is willing to expand it even further. According to recent reports, the program will now be rolled out to 20 additional states across the US. Most of the games that come as part of this program tend to be very relevant to the work that most employees do.
We saw one called MissionRacer where a warehouse worker plays with a car while another employee picks and sorts products into appropriate boxes. According to Kent Hollenbeck, a spokesperson from Amazon, it seems like many employees “enjoy having the option to join these workstation games.”
As a result, the e-commerce giant is “taking their feedback” and expanding the program even further. Amazon also insists that even as it expands the program into more states, it remains optional for all its warehouse workers. Many employees note that the games are very popular within warehouses because they can help cut the tediousness and the repetition associated with normal warehouse tasks.
But others see them as a sinister, sought-off dystopian move by Amazon that puts it one step closer to fully control its workforce. Besides, it’s not clear whether the rewards won during the games have any value or not. Besides, there is this fear that the games could easily be used to gauge employee performance.
After all, workers playing are often pitted against other warehouse workers in different states. Although Amazon maintains that the games are purely motivational, it wouldn't be a surprise if the company tries to capture data with the sole aim of using it to increase productivity even further.
Additionally, some employees are calling on the e-commerce giant to offer more rewards that can be used. In 2019, for example, the Washington Post reported that employees were asking Amazon to include the so-called "swag-bucks" as part of the rewards.
"Swag-bucks" is an in-house Amazon currency that employees can use to purchase merchandise and other small stuff from Amazon. The company is currently in the process of automating most warehouse activities. Even though the company still employs a lot of people, there is this fear that as warehouse technology grows, it will continue to rely less on people and more on robots.