Amazon’s Wristband Tracks Workers’ Movements and Breaks

Would you wear a wristband that tracked your every move at work and nudged you via vibrations if it thought you were doing something wrong?

Tracking workers like this may become the norm, in the future, since Amazon has a patent for a wristband that knows if a worker is slacking off.

According to CNBC, “the company won two patents for a wristband that could track workers’ movements and breaks.” Want to know why it takes Tommy longer than Dan pulling orders? Just check data from their Amazon wristband.

While it is unclear if Amazon will actually manufacture the wristband and have employees wear it, depending on how your employer feels about tracking workers on the job, this groundbreaking tracking device is definitely raising a few eyebrows.

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If the device is rolled out, it will be easier for supervisor to identify every time a worker paused, lolly gaged, as well as how long (or often) a worker takes on bathroom breaks, which is consistent with Amazon’s workplace culture that thrives on a hard-hitting management style.

According to The New York Times, “Amazon’s proposed technology would emit ultrasonic sound pulses and radio transmissions to track where an employee’s hands were in relation to inventory bins, and provide “haptic feedback” to steer the worker toward the correct bin.”  Hmmm… Do you see how this could increase workers’ speed? But what about privacy?

IMG_0102Concurring with critics, the wristbands ought to raise concerns about privacy in the workplace, as abusing such devices could result in treating employees like robots instead of human beings.

Max Crawford was a former Amazon warehouse worker in Britain. In a phone interview, Crawford said, “After a year working on the floor, I felt like I had become a version of the robots I was working with.”  He believes Amazon wants to turn people into machines.

If this is how a former employee feels now, I wonder what workers will think if required to wear the wristbands in the future. Will these devices have any safeguards to protect workers from being pushed pass their physical limitations?

This high tech surveillance is on another level.  It is only a matter of time before it becomes the norm, as many companies (including Amazon) seek a more efficient workforce.

What’s more, if Amazon makes the tracking device (or something similar) available to other employers, work as we know it will no longer be the same. This may be the next game changer.

 

One thought on “Amazon’s Wristband Tracks Workers’ Movements and Breaks

  1. Very thought provoking and important post. I agree with several points you made. Hopefully this will not lead to an end of “Privacy at Work”.

    One good thing I see on this project is that companies will have more data to see what really works best when it comes to hours/per week 🙂

    One big problem could occur if employees where heavily over worked during their shift(s).

    This could cause unwanted injuries or damages to workers. Or super processed errors.

    At the end of the day I feel like companies are going to do what makes them more profits while giving them less constraints.

    Looking forward to seeing how far this idea can go!

    I just hope we don’t replace our human elements of work with cyborg philosophy.

    We are machine but we are unique because we have emotional intelligence.

    Like

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