WorkingWell is the name Amazon has chosen for its new program to improve the wellbeing of employees in its warehouses. So after years of criticism and the threat of union formation, Jeff Bezos’ company has decided to respond to this plan, which will be expanded to 1,000 facilities in the US and Europe.
Specifically, this initiative aims to train employees to avoid certain work accidents and improve their mental health. According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon recorded an average of 5.6 work-related accidents per 100 employees in the US in 2019, more than the national average for the industry: 4.8. The company has therefore set itself the goal of halving these incidents by 2025.
“We have to adapt work to people and not adapt people to work.”
To do this, and especially to prevent musculoskeletal disorders, one of the biggest health problems facing employees, employees take turns watching injury prevention videos. For example, they explain how to properly lift items. You will also be taught some stretching and breathing exercises. However, walking too long is out of the question. These pauses last no longer than 30 seconds to a minute.
For the mental health component, Amazon allows its employees to watch videos with guided meditations, as well as calming scenes and sounds. Wellness zones are also being set up where they can stretch out and meditate, while a mobile application allows employees to do the same at home.
In any case, these measures leave you skeptical, Jack Dennerlein, an American researcher who specializes in musculoskeletal disorders. When asked by our colleagues, he is more in favor of a restructuring of the camps and specifies: “We have to adapt work to people and not people to work”.
In any case, there was an urgent need to react, as Amazon is heavily criticized for the working conditions of its employees. The 5,800 warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, voted against union formation, but the debate that accompanied the election showed real discontent within the company.