Ways to improve work organization
The following ways are often used to improve work organisation and job content
- Mechanisation . But be careful, mechanisation can easily lead to machine-paced tasks and poorer jobs.
- Ergonomic improvements, especially with respect to appropriate equipment and sequence of work.
- Change of layout of worksites (e.g. using a round table) so as to allow easier communications and co-operation.
- Job enlargement by combining separate tasks, for example by creating shorter parallel lines, each with a longer cycle time.
- Buffer stocks of unfinished products; the worker can draw on upstream stocks when wanting to work faster, and another downstream stock can act as a buffer when the worker takes a break or is working at slower pace.
- Job enrichment, by adding more responsible tasks such as inspection of semifinished products or machines, maintenance and repair.
A very flexible way of improving work organisation and job content, with many advantages for both management and workers, is nothing but a group work. Most people like to work together and co-operate. Moreover, in co-operative work, the weaknesses of one worker can be compensated by the strengths of another. Similar adjustments can be done for differing preferences, temporary problems including absences, etc.
To facilitate the improvements in work organisation, early planning with the participation of all parties is essential. These improvements are directed not only at improving working conditions but also more efficient work. They make the work operation more flexible and adaptive to production procedures and change-overs.
For workers, improvements such as reduction in occupational stress, greater opportunities for co-operation, better use of skills and improved career prospect are combined with the benefits of a more productive enterprise. Many modern management techniques, such as quality circles or management by objective, make use of participative planning.
A company or an organisation usually has an activity planning function, which describes how different groups and departments are supposed to work and interact in relation to the overall goals. Responsibilities and powers are divided and lines of communication and forms of cooperation are defined.