Work is an important part of the lives of most people. It provides a sense of self-worth and enables people to make an impact in the world. However, the definition of work is changing as technology and automation are transforming the way we work.
Redefining work is an opportunity for organizations to unlock the intrinsic motivation of their employees and to expand value for all parties involved. To do so, work has to be redesigned in such a way that it cultivates questing and connecting dispositions and helps individuals discover and pursue the domains where they want to make a difference.
The science of work
The scientific definition of work is simple: it’s the energy transferred from one object to another as a result of a force applied along a displacement (distance with direction). Here, W = Fd, where W is work done, F is the force, and d is the distance that the body moves in the applied force’s direction.
We tend to think of hard physical work as being the opposite of light mental activity, but the scientific meaning of work is quite different from our everyday understanding. For example, reading a chapter is not work in the scientific sense of the word because it does not involve the application of force to an object.
There are several elements to the scientific definition of work, including the magnitude of a force, the magnitude of a displacement, and the relative directions of the forces and the displacement. For work to be considered positive, the force must be in the same direction as the motion of the object and there must be a component of that force along the path over which the object is moved.
For work to be considered negative, the force must be in the opposite direction as the motion of the object and there should be a component of that force along the shortest path over which the object is moved. For example, holding the end of a rope on which a heavy object is being swung around at constant speed in a circle does not transfer energy to the object, because there is no displacement and the component of the force is toward the centre of the circle.
Redefining work can lead to a more productive, satisfying work life for all involved as well as the potential to increase employee satisfaction and retention. It also opens up new opportunities for people to develop their skills and become more innovative, which can have a powerful impact on the bottom line.
Working from home can help improve work-life balance by allowing staff to spend more time at home with their families and to do household chores such as loading the dishwasher or cleaning up dinner dishes. It also gives staff a greater sense of autonomy and allows them to work more efficiently as they are able to manage their own schedules.
It can also provide the basis for a more relaxed approach to work that is often regarded as an antidote to stress and burnout. It’s all too easy to let work take over the rest of your day and find yourself unable to focus, so working from home can offer workers a welcome change of pace.