Amazon workers told to ‘close your eyes’ and think happy thoughts

Amazon has sought to improve the morale of its stressed-out warehouse workers and reduce injuries by telling them to meditate in the middle of the workday.

A warehouse employee at the Seattle-based e-tailing giant founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos leaked a screenshot of a meditation and wellness guide from the company that encourages workers to “close your eyes and think about something that makes you happy.”

The screenshot — which also shows a timer at the top right corner of the screen, saying “Repeat until timer ends” and showing 10 seconds left — was leaked by a worker at one of the company’s fulfillment centers, where pay was recently increased to between $17 and $28 an hour.

“I mean it honestly felt like a slap in the face,” the employee told 404 Media. “It’s the sort of disconnected corporate platitude that is so obviously out of touch with reality.”

An Amazon employee leaked a screenshot of a meditation practice that the company encourages warehouse workers to undertake. 404
Employees can choose from several guided meditations and mindfulness-based exercises, according to the company. Amazon

Amazon in recent years has come under fire from worker advocates for conditions at warehouses, where some employees have reported that they were forced to urinate in bottles and forgo bathroom breaks because of the breakneck pace and the demands of the job.

The screenshot shows a guide to a practice called “savoring,” which is part of a wellness and meditation regimen that Amazon initially rolled out in 2021 titled “Working Well,” which was designed to cut down on workplace injuries by improving employees’ state of mind.

“In addition to the scheduled breaks throughout a shift, employees can take short breaks at any time to use the restroom, grab water or a snack, step away from their screen, or speak to their coworkers, manager, HR, or others,” an Amazon spokesperson told The Post.

The program features “physical and mental activities, wellness exercises, and healthy eating support” which are “scientifically proven to help them recharge and reenergize.”

An Amazon spokesperson told The Post that “AmaZen” was a pilot program launched in 2021. The company has since halted “AmaZen,” doing away with the “ZenBooths” that were officially known as “mindful practice rooms.”

Warehouse workers continue to receive wellness messages at their workstations and are urged to take breaks.

Amazon employees are encouraged to enter “Mindful Practice Rooms” to improve their mental health. Amazon

“Working Well” includes a special meditation and mindfulness-based section, which the company said “guides employees through mindfulness practices in individual interactive kiosks at buildings.”

Amazon said employees also will receive hourly prompts at their work stations “guiding them through a series of scientifically proven physical and mental activities to help recharge and reenergize, and ultimately reduce the risk of injury.”

Injury rates at Amazon have typically been higher compared to its peers in the industry, which critics and labor safety experts blame on the company’s fast-paced warehouses that track productivity and allow customers to get their packages quickly.

Last year, a coalition of labor unions released a report that found that Amazon’s injury rate was 70% higher in 2022 compared to non-Amazon warehouses.

The report, which was compiled by the Strategic Organizing Center and examines data Amazon have submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said the company’s injury rate was 6.9% in 2022, compared to 7.9% the year before. In 2020, that number was 6.6%.

Worker advocates have criticized conditions at Amazon fulfillment centers like the one seen above in Robbinsville, NJ. REUTERS

Amazon released a report last week saying that its “recordable incident rate” — which it described as any work-related injury that requires more than basic first aid treatment — improved in 2023 by 8% compared to the year before and 30% over the past four years.

The company said its “lost time incident rate” — serious work-related injury that requires someone to take time away from work — improved last year by 16% compared to 2022 and 60% over the past four years.

The employee who leaked the video said the meditation guide was out of place because “the lower and middle classes are seeing our financial situations grow tighter and tighter … while the people at the heads of these corporations continue to build their portfolios and disproportionate wealth.”

“We’re getting bled dry as a people, and then I get a pop up at my menial labor job to ‘close my eyes and think of something happy?’ I’ll think of eating the rich then, thanks,” the employee said.

With Post wires

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