Amazon mental health initiative backfires

Tech giant Amazon is so concerned about its warehouse workers’ mental health that it’s providing capsules in which they can sit and sort their heads out.

They’re called AmaZen, presumably because they’re so calming and reassuring. ‘During shifts employees can visit AmaZen stations and watch short videos featuring easy-to-follow wellbeing activities, including guided meditations, positive affirmations, calming scenes with sounds, and more,’ said a recent press release announcing the launch of Amazon’s ‘WorkingWell’ programme.

They even got an employee to talk it up. “Self-care is important, and AmaZen gives me an opportunity to take time for myself to just pause and regroup which helps me be better at work,” said Katie Miller, who works in an Amazon fulfilment centre. “When I take that time, I come back to work more focused, and it has a lasting effect on the rest of my day.”

Mentally healthier and more productive – what’s not to like? It seems not everyone views this as an unalloyed good, however. In its report on AmaZen, Vice referred to it as one of Amazon’s most dystopian moves yet. Meanwhile the Guardian reported on some of the social media highlights following the publication of Amazon’s now-deleted tweet bringing attention to the AmaZen.

It can’t be easy handling Amazon’s public relations. The company faces regular scrutiny of its working conditions, and while its stated commitment to mental health is commendable, this particular gimmick was not well considered. It joins union-busting, political censorship and the Monitron among Amazon’s recent missteps. Perhaps Amazon should install a few of these ‘despair closets’ in its PR departments.

It looks like someone whacked the video up on YouTube before Amazon deleted the tweet and press release, from which we screen-grabbed the above image.


One comment

  1. Avatar Keith E Gould 29/05/2021 @ 6:56 am

    Looks about the right size for a crapper… I wonder what sort of sanction gets applied to an Amazon worker for using one of these, after all they’re allegedly routinely denied time for bathroom breaks.

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