- Amazon announced Tuesday that it is changing its “Time Off Task” productivity metric.
- “Time Off Task” refers to the time that warehouse workers spend away from their workstations.
- From now on, Amazon says it will have an average Time Off Task for a longer period.
- See more stories on the Insider activity page.
Amazon says it changes a metric that workers have said it uses to closely monitor staff productivity.
In a blog article Tuesday, Dave Clark Consumer CEO Dave Clark wrote that the company was changing its way of measuring the so-called “Time off Task”. Time Off Task is measured when an employee leaves their workstation.
Amazon will now start averaging its Time Off Task measure for a longer period, Clark said.
Employees said Amazon uses Time Off Task to closely monitor productivity and punish workers who don’t meet required quotas. Workers said the fear of accumulating Time Off Task means that avoid taking breaks in the bathroom.
Clark said Time Off Task was primarily a way to measure software and system bugs, with productivity being a secondary consideration.
“As of today, we’re now averaging Time off Task for a longer period of time to ensure there’s more signal and less noise – reinforcing the original intent of the program, and focusing Time off Task conversations on how we can help, ”he said.
“The goal is to get the conversations back on cases where there are likely real operational issues to be resolved. We believe this change will help ensure that the Time Off Task policy is used in the way it was intended,” Clark wrote.
Clark did not explain how long this “longer period” would be. In the same blog, he announced that the company would stop testing candidates for work for marijuana.
Amazon worker Catherine Highsmith said Insider in March that Time Off Task was an obscure metric, and that employees had no way of knowing how much they had earned, and therefore how close they could get to a reprimand.
In 2020, Amazon told CNBC that store staff could spend time outside of breaks to use the bathroom, wash their hands, take a break, take water, or talk to their manager.
Tuesday’s announcement came on the same day as In the Washington Post he said injury rates at Amazon stores were high twice as high as for competing retailers like Walmart.
It came the same day Vice News referred to a filtered “welfare guide” for staff, which recommended workers buy shoes for the end of the day when their feet swell.