Amazon.com announced on Tuesday the launch of WorkingWell, a new comprehensive program providing employees with physical and mental activities, wellness exercises, and healthy eating support that are scientifically proven to help them recharge and re-energize, and ultimately reduce the risk of injury. According to a company press release, the program is part of Amazon's investment of more than $300 million into safety projects in 2021, and its mission to be "Earth’s Safest Place to Work." WorkingWell is a comprehensive program with a number of components, including scientifically proven health and safety education and exercises, comprehensive and critical health and wellness services, and technology to connect with employees in buildings and at home. Each of these components were developed in collaboration with employees from within Amazon operations.
Aspects of WorkingWell piloted in the U.S. in 2019, and the program has since expanded to 859,000 employees at 350 sites in North America and Europe. By the end of 2021, WorkingWell will expand further to cover all of Amazon’s operations network in the U.S., with the aim of cutting recordable incident rates by 50 percent by 2025. Roughly 40 percent of work-related injuries at Amazon are musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which include sprains or strains caused by repetitive motions. Amazon says pilots of the WorkingWell program have reduced MSD-related injuries by 32 percent from 2019 to 2020, and have had a positive impact on regular day-to-day activities for employees outside of work.
Total Retail's Take: Amazon is no stranger to employee injury accusations and lawsuits, facing criticism over the treatment of its warehouse workers as the company has rapidly grown. Then, in his last shareholder letter as Amazon CEO in April, Jeff Bezos said that the company has to do better for its workers after facing the biggest union push in its 26-year history in Bessemer, Alabama. It seems that Bezos' word stuck with Amazon executives, as the e-commerce giant has now announced a $300 million investment into worker safety and wellness initiatives. The company press release states that Amazon works closely with health and safety experts and scientists, conducts thousands of safety inspections each day in its buildings, and has made hundreds of changes based on employee feedback to improve their well-being at work, including development of the WorkingWell program.
Commitment to employee well-being and health has only grown more important in the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic increased awareness of job safety worldwide. Amazon is most certainly looking to improve employee retention and hoping to catch the attention of job seekers after it announced a push to hire 75,000 people in its fulfillment and logistics network across the U.S. and Canada. The rollout of such a unique wellness program is a big step in the right direction for Amazon and its employees.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Women in Retail Leadership Circle and sister brand Total Retail. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for both brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment recording interviews with retailers.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.