Throughout history people have expressed a range of views on work. Some have described work as a source of individual identities, while others have suggested that it is the source of social exchanges. Whatever view you hold of work, it remains an integral part of our societies. Work can take a variety of forms, from physical labour to mental and intellectual work. Depending on the circumstances and the individual, work can be either remunerative or purposeful.
Physical work is the transfer of energy by force. In many instances this means the force of a heavy object, such as a crane, is applied to an object. The force is measured in joules. The joule is the standard unit of work, equal to newton – meter (N * m). The joule is then reduced to gram-centimeter squared per second. Similarly, work done by a torque is the product of torque and angular displacement.
Mental work involves the application of knowledge and skill, and may also involve the use of materials and tools. The latter is a central feature of human evolution. The use of tools has shaped our understanding of work and our ability to do it. A successful work project requires an investment in materials and resources and an effective resource allocation.
In larger societies, work may be a highly complex process, and requires the involvement of several workers. In smaller societies, planning is more limited, with custom and customary practices determining the process. This allows a more stable form of planning to occur. For example, an agricultural society may regulate planning by adjusting the seasonal availability of plants and animals.
Similarly, an elite may have access to prestigious work, while an individual with no status may be stigmatized or violently forced into work. Depending on the context, different work roles may have similar functions, or fall under different institutions.
Although the role and the nature of work may vary between cultures, societies typically rank work roles based on perceived status. This can extend to industries and even to entire societies.
The level of an employee’s work is determined by the nature of their job, their performance in performing their job, and their position within the organization. In some cases, these factors are objectively measured, while others are subjectively compared. For example, an entry-level employee may be graded on their performance, whereas a higher-ranking manager may be rated based on their position within the organization.
Work can also take many different forms, from operating complex technologies to gathering natural resources by hand. Some tasks are better performed in person while others can be done from a remote location. This may include working on a social media ad campaign. Companies often design work processes for industry-specific tasks, such as clothing production.
Ultimately, work is a source of social exchanges and individual identities. In some cases, it is a source of stress from problems, while other jobs are remunerative or purposeful. It is also an important factor in the integration of vulnerable groups in society.