What Is Work?


Work is the transfer of energy or an action involving force. It can be defined as the amount of energy transferred by a force or the magnitude of the effect. A joule is the standard unit of work, and is equal to the amount of energy a one newton force exerts through a one meter distance. However, a joule is not the same thing as energy. Some units of work are calorie, foot-pound, joule-hour, horsepower-hour, and litre-atmosphere.

The most basic form of work is a simple matter of exerting a force on an object to make it move. For example, a baseball player hurls a ball with a 10 N force. This may or may not have a noticeable effect on the baseball, depending on the angle of the force and the surface it is thrown on. Another type of work is energy conversion, for example, an automobile moving at 5 meters per second on a smooth road.

While work is not the sole purpose of a human being, it is a necessary part of everyday life. A person’s job could be to do a bicycle paddling cycle, push luggage, or repair a gadget. These types of tasks require the ability to physically exert force, and to do so in a manner that is meaningful to the individual.

When comparing the energy that a force can produce versus the measurable energy that it can transfer to an object, the former should be a no-brainer. In fact, the work that is done by a force on an object can be mathematically calculated using the equation below. If we take into account the angle theta (Th) and its significance in the equation, we get a more complex answer. But if we ignore the angularity, we have a nifty way of measuring the magnitude of the effect.

As with most things, the most obvious and most interesting aspects of work are those that are not necessarily obvious. For example, there is no one size fits all. Regardless of the size of the force, the work that is produced should be proportional to its magnitude.

Interestingly, there is a close relationship between work and other aspects of life. Specifically, the act of working can change the way a person thinks, acts, or feels. To this end, the Toyota Production System has developed a system of thinking that emphasizes solving non-routine problems, seeking new opportunities, and fostering creativity and imagination in the workplace. In short, this system believes that each employee can make a contribution to the success of the organization.

One conceivable reason why work is not as popular as it should be is that most people have no idea what it is. They might have been taught the aforementioned energy lesson in school, but that is about it. That is why, if we are going to redefine work as the new normal, we need to cultivate curiosity, imagination, and empathy among our workforce. By doing so, we can make the best use of our innate motivation.