The Definition of Work


Work is the transfer of energy from one source to another via force and displacement. Often, work is represented as a product of force and displacement. The definition of work is simple: when two forces cause an object to move, the result is work. If the force causes an object to move away from its source, the result is work, and vice versa. Generally, work is the energy transferred from one source to another. However, the exact definition of work may vary.

The term work is defined mathematically as force times displacement. In the definition of work, the force applied must be greater than the force of the resisting object. If the two forces have the same direction, the work will be equal to the force applied to the object. If the forces are in opposite directions, the work done will be negative. The distance traveled will be measured only while the force is applied. The distance traveled is measured while the force is applied to the object.

In the physical sciences, work is the force that causes an object to move. The unit of work is the Joule. Any unit of force times a unit of displacement is equal to one joule. To calculate the work that is done, three quantities must be known: the force, the displacement, and the angle between the force and the displacement. This table gives a clearer idea of the unit of work. For most applications, however, work is not very useful unless it can be visualized as a vector.

When we push a book, for example, there is a force that is applied. That force causes the book to be pushed away. That displacement indicates work, and is in line with the everyday concept of work. In fact, the same applies to energy conversion. For example, a traditional light bulb is only 3% efficient at converting electrical energy into visible light. And our bodies can convert the chemical energy in food into work about 25% of the time. When we talk about energy, the standard unit is the joule. It is defined as the amount of energy transferred when a force of 1 Newton is applied to an object over a distance of one meter.

To reinvent work, companies need to redefine the processes, environment, and capabilities of work. In particular, they must rethink their compensation systems and performance management. This means they have to think about how they can make work more flexible, enabling workers to focus on creating more value for both customers and the companies. But redefining work is not an easy task. It requires a company to be flexible and adaptable to changing work. But the rewards will be great.

What makes a motion not work is when the object being worked on is not moved. In other words, the force must cause the object to move. This means that a frustrated person pushing against a wall will not be doing work. But, a person pushing a heavy box across a room will not be doing work, even though they may be exerting a force that causes the book to fall. The force will exert a centripetal force on the ball, which constrains it to circular motion. Since this force is perpendicular to the motion, it will not cause the ball to fall to the floor.