What does it mean to simplify work? A definition

Work or job simplification is the process of taking away tasks from roles so that they can be more focused. The goal of work simplification is to come up with better ways to do work that get more done while spending as little money as possible.

Let’s look at an example of how work can be made easier.

 

Amy works at the front desk of a company that is growing quickly. Her job is to deal with paperwork, do office work, and greet visitors. Amy loved what she did. But when the company grew from 50 to 150 people in two years, she stopped keeping up with her administrative tasks and started to show signs of burnout. During these two years, Amy’s responsibilities didn’t change, but the number of people she had to care for grew by 300%!

Then, her boss sat her down and asked her what she liked best about her job. Amy liked doing chores and having people over, but she couldn’t keep up with all the paperwork. The company then decided to hire an extra office manager like Accely website to take care of these kinds of administrative tasks. The other two things became Amy’s only responsibilities.

 

A brief history of making jobs easier

 

Frederick Taylor spread the idea of making work easier. He thought that hard jobs should be broken up into smaller, easier parts. These are small jobs that aren’t too hard to learn and do. The benefit is that it doesn’t take a lot of skill, it’s cheaper for the organization, and there are fewer mistakes because people specialize.

Taylor’s method has workers become experts in their own fields. Henry Ford was the first to use this method. He was able to mass-produce cars for much less money than his competitors.

Another benefit for the employer is that employees are easier to replace because they have very specific skills that are easy to learn. So, employees are just parts of the production machine that can be changed out. This way of doing things was called the “engineering approach,” because the end result (productivity) was the most important factor in making these design decisions.

 

Job simplification became less popular as automation grew and workers became more aware of their working conditions. Instead of focusing on engineering, a motivational approach was pushed. This method focused on making jobs more interesting, especially for people who work with knowledge.

Even though it’s not as popular as it used to be, job simplification is still one of the four most important ways to design jobs. One could also argue that job simplification should be brought back as a way to simplify roles in a time when stress and health problems can be caused by jobs that are too hard.

 

A 5-step method for making work easier

 

Work simplification is a five-step process that is not too different from any other job redesign process. First, the job or role is looked at, and then it is improved based on a number of factors. Here are the steps for making a job easier.

 

Pick the job or activity that will be studied. A task that takes a lot of time or is inefficient is a good place to start. Ideally, this is something you already know how to do. If not, you should talk to people who are familiar with the task to learn more about the person doing it. This makes it easier to understand what’s going on.

Collecting data and information about the job that was chosen. Here, the most important thing is to get all the facts, and each step of the job is listed.

Having doubts about everything, including how well you do your job. In this step, you look at all the steps and facts and ask “why, where, when, who, and how?” to figure out what’s going on. Next, you look into other ways of doing things and situations.

Think of ways to make things better. Here, you can do all the different tasks based on four criteria. Eliminate, Combine, Rearrange, and Simplify are the four steps. Here, the goal is to make work easier, safer, or better. During this phase, you should remember that you can use tools like physical instruments, digital technology, and automation. After that, write down the results and come up with an idea for a new method.

The results will be looked at and the new method will be put into place. Here, you can test your new prototype, make changes based on the first results, and put the better method into action. This could mean dealing with stakeholders or persuading a higher-up.

Even though the above approach was first published in the 1950s, it is very similar to the design thinking process used today. You try to understand the job and the situation, define the problem, look at the process, make prototypes of possible solutions, and test the results.

 

This short guide to making jobs easier is over. To sum up, the goal of job simplification is to find ways to do work that get the most done for the least amount of money. So, it is a very task-oriented approach. But there are also other things to think about, like how motivating the job will be and if the new, easier job is a good fit for the person doing it. If Amy liked doing administrative work, she would not have been happy to give it up. This shows how important it is to look at work simplification from a human point of view.

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