Amazon's Warehouse Gamification Effort Expands
The Washington Post wrote back in 2019 about Amazon gamifying its warehouses, where associates can play games such as MissionRacer, PicksInSpace, Dragon Duel and CastleCrafter, to make tedious tasks more bearable and drive productivity improvement. The program, called FC Games, began in 2017 at a single Amazon warehouse before expanding to five warehouses by 2019.
Amazon isn't the first company to gamify jobs to let employees compete against each other while improving productivity. Uber, Lyft, Target and Delta Air Lines are among the companies that have used gamification to keep employees engaged during mundane tasks.
The Information reported last week that Amazon is now offering the optional FC Games to associates at Amazon warehouses across at least 20 states. Associates can monitor the games on screens at the stowing and picking stations as they compete for digital rewards that can be redeemed for virtual pets such as dinosaurs and penguins.
Their report notes employees' reception to the games are mixed, with some saying its a fun way to keep the job interesting while an employee even compared it to an episode of "Black Mirror."
"The games aren't particularly good, although some people do like it because it helps make the mind-numbing boredom of a 10-hour shift better," an Amazon employee told The Information.
"Employees have told us they enjoy having the option to join in these workstation games, and we're excited to be taking their feedback and expanding the program to even more buildings throughout our network," Amazon spokesperson Kent Hollenbeck told The Information. "Even with this expansion, the program remains completely optional for employees; they can switch in or out of different games depending on their preference, can play anonymously, or not play at all—the choice is theirs."
It seems Amazon has seen enough positives from the last few years to expand the games to additional warehouses. At a time when the company is facing continued pressure for working conditions in its warehouses, Amazon hopes gamifying their tasks can help improve moral and productivity.
Merger creates first U.S.-Mexico-Canada railroad. Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern have agreed to merge in a deal where CP will acquire KCS in a $29 billion cash and stock deal. With approval from the Surface Transportation Board, the deal will create the first rail network connecting the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The combined company will operate approximately 20,000 miles of rail, employ nearly 20,000 people and generate total revenues of approximately $8.7 billion. "This transaction will be transformative for North America, providing significant positive impacts for our respective employees, customers, communities, and shareholders," CP President and CEO Keith Creel said. "This will create the first U.S.-Mexico-Canada railroad, bringing together two railroads that have been keenly focused on providing quality service to their customers to unlock the full potential of their networks."
DoorDash to deliver COVID-19 tests. DoorDash announced it will team up with Vault Health and Everlywell to deliver COVID-19 tests. The Vault Health test kit sells for $119, while Everlywell's test kit sells for $109, as both will be available in 12 DashMart locations across the U.S. "The fact that you can now get a kit delivered to your door in hours, quickly collect a sample and drop your kit in the mail, and then receive an accurate COVID-19 diagnosis and speak to a physician about next steps in as little as 24 hours later is a significant step forward for public health," Everlywell Head of Clinical Affairs Dr. Marisa Cruz said.
Housing supply drops by most on record. Existing home sales fell by 6.6% last month as the supply of homes for sale dropped by a record 29.5% from the same period a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors. With a current supply of 1.03 million homes, it would take just two months to exhaust, compared to three months a year ago. The median price of an existing home jumped by nearly 16% annually to $313,000. "The fact that even with the decline in sales, the days on the market are swift, and prices rising," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said. "This is implying that it is not due to demand disappearing from the market, it is really lack of supply."
Deliveroo eyes $12 billion valuation. Food delivery startup Deliveroo set the price range for its upcoming IPO, implying a target valuation of £7.6 billion to £8.8 billion, or just over $12 billion. Deliveroo, which is set to become one of the largest U.K. listings in years, will use the proceeds to improve its platform and expand deeper into on-demand grocery delivery. "Becoming a public company will enable us to continue to invest in innovation, developing new tech tools to support restaurants and grocers, providing riders with more work and extending choice for consumers, bringing them the food they love from more restaurants than ever before," Deliveroo founder and CEO Will Shu said.
Rivian looks to install 10,000 EV chargers. Electric vehicle startup Rivian, which is backed by Amazon, said it plans on installing 10,000 Rivian Waypoint charging stations across the U.S. and Canada by the end of 2023. The company also said that the Rivian Adventure Network will grow to more than 3,500 fast chargers at over 600 sites by the end of 2023. "Each site will have multiple chargers and will be conveniently located on highways and main roads, often by cafes and shops," Rivian said. "These DC fast chargers will be for Rivian owners only, with details on pricing and associated programs coming soon."