Amazon is trying to make working in its warehouses like playing a video game

AmazonHelen H. Richardson/Getty

  • Amazon is testing a pilot program in five fulfillment centers around the country where its employees can gamify their workload.
  • A game with retro graphics works together with Amazon's facility technology to track employees' work, comparing it with other employees'.
  • Those with a high score get bragging rights and "swag bucks," which can be turned in for Amazon-branded gear and clothing.
  • The gamification could both result in higher rates of productivity and make work tasks less monotonous.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Amazon is trying to make the life of its warehouse workers a bit less rote.

It is currently piloting a program in five fulfillment centers around the country where its employees have the option to gamify their workload.

At employee workstations, games with names like "MissionRacer," "PicksInSpace," "Dragon Duel," and "CastleCrafter" appear on a small screen with retro-looking graphics and keep track of employees' work. The Washington Post was first to report on the existence of the program, which an Amazon representative confirmed with Business Insider.

Progress is then compared against others', either on the individual or group level. Winners get bragging rights as well as "Swag Bucks," which employees can redeem for Amazon-branded apparel and gear.

Using the gamified program is completely optional, and while there are incentives like virtual badges, they are not directly tied to pay or advancement.

The pilot began at one warehouse in 2017 before being expanded to the current five.

Read more: Amazon's shift to one-day Prime shipping could prove a big challenge to 2 breeds of retailers

The gamification plays a dual role of making unskilled or monotonous labor more easily borne, as well as providing a way for Amazon to more naturally encourage employees to be more productive. How productive Amazon's warehouses can be is something being carefully watched by investors, customers, and everyone in between as Amazon transitions its two-day Prime shipping guarantee to one day.

Amazon warehouse workers are also already tracked for their productivity, with some describing the "brutal" reality of the job to Business Insider earlier this year. Amazon says it's proud of its "great working conditions, wages and benefits, and career opportunities."

Exclusive FREE Report: The 5 Biggest Questions Around Amazon's Grocery Chain by Business Insider Intelligence

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