Users on social media deride ‘AmaZen’ booths in warehouses as a ‘mobile despair closet’ as company faces increased criticism of working conditions
Amazon is to install “wellness” booths displaying videos about relaxation into its warehouses as part of its response to criticism over staff working conditions.
The booths, which are about the size of a telephone booth, include a chair, a desk with a computer screen, potted plants and illumination designed to simulate outdoor light.
Workers entering the “AmaZen” booth, also called a “Mindfulness Practice Room”, will be able to choose from a range of videos including “guided meditations, positive affirmations, calming scenes with sounds, and more”, the company said.
The booths are part of Amazon’s WorkingWell programme, aimed at providing employees “physical and mental activities, wellness exercises, and healthy eating support” to “help them recharge and reenergise”, the company said in a statement.
Amazon has been faced with increasing criticism of the working conditions in its warehouses over the past year, as its business has boomed due to the pandemic.
The company announced the AmaZen booths on Twitter, but later deleted the post after it was met with ridicule by other social media users.
“During shifts employees can visit AmaZen stations and watch short videos featuring easy-to-follow well-being activities, including guided meditations, positive affirmations, calming scenes with sounds,” Amazon said in its announcement.
One user called the booth a “mobile despair closet“.
The company has promised to invest $300 million (£211m) into safety projects this year.
Its staff in the US are not unionised and Amazon recently saw off a vote in Alabama to bring a union into one warehouse.
The firm didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.