Why is Amazon trying to track their employees’ every move?
Amazon’s new “ultrasonic bracelets” tracks their employee’s every move and there’s one big reason as to why they’re doing it: efficiency.
The wristband is pitched as a labor-saving device that monitors each employee’s efficiency. It gives employees “haptic feedback,” which is a little vibration as they reach for the correct bin, reducing unnecessary motion.
This idea is hardly new though. It dates to when several long-dead pioneers of “scientific management” anticipated this development in the 19th century. Scientific management is usually associated with Frederick Winslow Taylor, who experimented shaving time and money from the industrial production.
Amazon is adding its own little 21st century spin on it. Instead of management constantly hovering over the workers’ shoulders, the bracelet will respond in real time to bodily movements, nudging them in the right direction. No time shall be wasted.
Amazon has the right idea and is effectively remaking the American workplace, but there’s one downside – workers that are trained to act like machines, grow to dislike their jobs.
I wonder if Frederick Winslow Taylor would approve? Probably not.