The structuring of work

A good organization of work time is usually the key to achieving the highest overall effectiveness of employees in a company. Thanks to proper structuring of work of every individual, a company works more effectively and achieves the expected results in a

A good organization of work time is usually the key to achieving the highest overall effectiveness of employees in a company. Thanks to proper structuring of work of every individual, a company works more effectively and achieves the expected results in a shorter period of time. Of course, we cannot say that good structuring of work is a decisive factor in increasing effectiveness, however, its importance should not be neglected. In this article, we describe in detail the notion of structuring of work – we explain the phenomenon, describe what it is all about, and provide hints on how to apply it to our company. The application of work structuring is not an easy task, however, if we learn the theoretical basis, it will be much less difficult to develop a plan of work structuring in our enterprise.

What is structuring all about?

The notion of work structuring should be understood as a process during which changes are made to methods of work organization. The general aim of structuring of work is to increase the effectiveness of management of human resources. Good distribution of work and the establishment of clear aims help increase the overall effectiveness of all employees at an enterprise. This, in consequence, is mirrored by higher financial gains which allow a company to make new investments – investments that can also aim at achieving an optimal level of work structuring.

Work structuring is mainly about establishing a clear range of activities to perform in a company and about creating optimal conditions for these activities so that they meet the requirements of individual employees. Additionally, the goal is also to create optimal conditions for personal employee development. The activities carried out in an enterprise should be characterized by a high level of variety and comprehensiveness if we want to be able to use them to communicate and cooperate with the company’s surroundings. If we create such an environment in our company, we make it possible for employees to experiment to a certain extent and to search for personal solutions to the problems that appear at work. However, this pursuit must not expose our employees to any threats – maintaining maximum level of safety is the most important matter.

Work structuring might also refer to individual work posts. This is why, in reference to structuring, we can talk about designing work posts. What is more, there is also the possibility of structuring whole groups of posts. In such a case, we deal with their collective designing.

The range of structuring

Now that we recognize the term work structuring or the designing of work posts, we can say a few words about the range of this process. Among other notions, it encompasses the following:

The process of designing and forming new work structures
The modification of structures which already exist in an enterprise
The development through the adequate formation of conditions that facilitate the use of the capabilities of employees and work as such
The deliberate formation of contents and conditions on the level of a specific post, or a group of posts
The formation of particular structures characterized by comprehensiveness and a certain level of variety introduced by the employees themselves
The formation of structures which provide a wide range of communicative abilities to employees and which give versatile competences in relation to the performed tasks

The aim of structuring

As stated earlier, the main aim of work structuring is to increase the effectiveness of management of human resources at an enterprise. Managers deliberately form the contents and conditions of a work post or a group of work posts. Thanks to this, it is possible to create conditions that make it easier to make maximum use of work potential. Only in such a situation, employees can personally develop. It has to be remembered that the basic working structure is a single post. Therefore, when talking about work structuring, we have to remember to begin by designing or modifying one of the posts and not all of them at the same time. In the latter situation, there is the threat that chaos will arise. In such a case, instead of achieving higher effectiveness, we may ruin what managers have already accomplished.

The tendencies in work structuring

By now we know that the elementary structure of work is in the form of every individual post existing at a given enterprise. Generally speaking, the tendency in work structuring at a company is the combining of work and professional obligations, and next – the increasing of employee responsibility for the activities they perform.

During the structuring of work, posts should be designed in such a way as to have the following characteristic features:

The comprehensiveness of activities
The possibility to experiment and to develop the skills and knowledge of an employee
The post should require a wide range of competences from a potential candidate
The possibility to communicate with coworkers
The possibility to introduce variety to activities.

The models of work structuring

In theory, there are three different models of managing human resources, or three approaches to the structuring of work. They are as follows:

Preventive structuring – is used during the planning of new work structures. It makes possible to predict the potential shortages in employment. Thanks to this, the problem can be dealt with immediately and effectively by employing new specialists.
Prospective structuring – is applied during the planning and designing of work posts. It allows for making predictions about the possibilities of development of a company and its staff members.
Corrective structuring – here we talk about the elimination of shortages in employment in relation to particular posts. This can refer to shortages in the pure ergonomic sense, or the deeper, psychological aspect of the matter.

What is more, the particular kinds of work structuring can be divided into several forms of action. Prospective structuring encompasses the following:

The formation of the contents of work – it is about introducing changes to the activities and functions of an employee or a group of employees. These activities are assigned to employees who occupy a specific post in their company. This form of structuring falls into the dynamic category because it undergoes constant changes. However, generally speaking, the formation of contents aims at presenting new challenges to particular people. It has to be stated that we should understand the contents of work as a range of activities of an employee that encompasses a number of specific actions including those related to controlling and decision making. The changes made in relation to the range of activities are quantitative (or horizontal); the ones that concern controlling and decision making are qualitative (or vertical). They have a tendency to either increase or decrease. The contents of work can be formed in a modern and innovative way which is based on deliberate and planned rotation of work posts. Such actions aim at increasing the range of activities or enriching the content of work. The essence of this enrichment is the qualitative increase of the range of the content of work done at specific posts. It does not only entail the increase in the range of performed activities, but also the increase of competences in the controlling and decision making areas. It is worth to emphasize the fact that such changes in the structuring of work have a very significant influence on the motivation of employees.
The group forms of work – the essence of this kind of work is about giving employees competences to do a variety of tasks independently. Employees are assigned competences to plan, execute, and even control work. One of the key features of group work is that employees are made responsible for the tasks they perform. In most cases, this kind of work in the case of work structuring concerns only small teams of employees which do not exceed 15 members. They can be divided into project/task, functional, development, and friend groups. The features of employee groups created during the structuring of work are as follows:
Cooperative tasks
Self-organization of the group
The flexible usage of the skills of team members
The same work time
Group responsibility for the performed tasks

A group usually chooses a single representative out of all its members. One can find totally or partially autonomous groups sometimes. It all depends on how the concept of participation is understood in a given enterprise.

The flexible organization of work time – it is about establishing some temporal boundaries. During these specific periods of time an employee is fully available to the company and uses his or her talents to help it achieve success. Flexible methods of organization of work time should form a compromise between the requirements that are a result of the company’s aims and the needs and expectations of employees. Of course, from the perspective of an employer, the most important thing is to optimize the work time and its effectiveness. Researches show that this optimization lies somewhere between 7 to 9 hours of work time a day. Such a time span of work allows for an employee to achieve the highest possible individual level of work effectiveness. Specialists in the field of occupational health and physiologists claim that an employee cannot work for more than 8 and half hours a day, and that he or she has to have 2 days off a week.

Proper structuring of work makes it possible to achieve optimal conditions for the development of an enterprise and its employees alike. Thanks to its skillful usage, employees gain a wide range of competences and, at the same time, they are made responsible for what they do which naturally increases their diligence. It is much easier for them to develop personally and hone their skills or learn new ones. At the same time, their potential increases the capabilities of their enterprise and makes it more effective in its functioning.