Work Simplification

Work simplification research consists of making motion and time studies of the work as it is being done, analyzing the workmethods,developing the easiest and most effective way to do the task and putting the new method into use.

Some of the techniques used for motion and time studies are: the pathway chart, the process chart, the operation chart, and micro motion film analyses. The pathway chart is a simple device for making a motion and time study in the home. A floor plan drawn to scale and fastened to a drawing board or wallboard, pins, and thread are all that are needed to make such a study. Pins are put in on the floor plan where the worker turns, and the line of travel

Work Simplification:
Techniques and Studies Anyone WHO is TRYING to lower time and energy expenditures soon learns the value of improving methods of work, because the time and energy required to do any task depend largely on the hand and body motion s used. Improvement in the performance of a task usually means that the work is made easier because the new method is a more convenient one, permitting smooth, natural and rhythmical motions.

Two time and work-reducing ideas-work simplification and motion-mindedness-may be used by everyone. Work simplification is the conscious seeking of the simplest, easiest, and quickest method of doing work. Motion-mindedness is an awareness of the motions involved in doing a task and an interest in possible ways of reducing them.

Techniques of Work Simplification
Attention was first focused on work simplification through research carried on in the industrial field. Motion and time studies showed that improvements in methods of work not only eliminated useless motions but also saved the worker’s time and energy.

pathway is measured from thread wound around the pins as the works. After a study of this process, a revised plan can be made on another floor plan.

The process chart is a step-by-step description of the method used in doing a task. It shows the flow of movement in the task ands is most helpful in calling attention to unnecessary steps and motions. The cyclograph, a photographic device, is also used to study types of motions used in performing tasks. When this is attached to some portion of the body, such as the hand when ironing is being done, it registers the pathway of light projected by small electric bulb. The resulting record shows whether the movements are smooth and rhythmic or nonrhythmic. This is an effective way to learn how motions may be reduced and how methods of work may be improved in doing a task. One of the newest devices now being tested is the chronocyclegraph. By using small lights on the middle finger of each hand, patterns of simple and intricate tasks can be photographed and recorded on a film.


Applied in the Home
The Busy Homemaker who wants to free more energy for certain activities, the employed homemaker who needs to lighten her home workload, and the disabled homemaker who must learn to conserve her energy can use the principles and techniques of work simplification studies of homemaking tasks indicate that change and improvement in work methods are possible in every home. They also show that there is considerable variety in “best work methods” in different households. For example, such similar homemaking tasks as dishwashing are performed in every home, but the facilities and demands of individual homes, together with the skills and abilities of the members of the family result in many different methods of performance. It is true that a number of “best ways” can be found for many of the jobs that are done.

Classes of Change
Homemakers who wish to simplify their tasks can easily do so by making a careful study of their methods of work. The first step is to apply a questioning attitude to every task. Why is it being done? How is it being done? Can it be done with fewer motions and less time? Can any steps be left out? Can equipment and tools be rearranged so they will be handier to work with? Are the best tools being used for the job?

Questions of this sort usually lead to the next step: the making of changes necessary to improve the present methos,for no one is likely to change habits un less first aware of some reason for doing so. This awareness is essential since it supplies a strong motivating force. A belief that one can improve ways of working and a realization of the gains to be had through reduced fatigue, shortened tome, and greater accomplishment act as spurs to devise means of working with greater ease.

One must next realize that changing old habits is not an easy or quick process. More time and effort will be needed and more thought and attention must be given to the task while a new method is being learned. If one is interested in breaking the old habit, the change will be easier. Model classified changes that can improve one’s method of work into five levels, each higher level brought about changes in motions in the level below it. Gross and Crandall combined the five classes of change in to three classes. Beginning with the lowest, these are (1) change in hand and body motions,(2) change in work and storage space and equipment, and (3) change in the product. These three classes will be used as a basis for the questions and discussion which follow.

Class 1 – Changes in Hand and Body Motions

The focusing of attention on the motions made by the hands and body reveals many possible changes that can save time and energy. Many tasks can be done with less effort by eliminating or combining certain processes, by improving the sequence and routing of work, by developing skills, and by improving body mechanics.
Motions in Working

Rinsing dishes in a drainer and allowing them to dry without wiping is an example of the elimination of a number of operations in the process. Reducing the utensils used in food preparation is an easy way to save motions. For instance, if pared potatoes are dropped directly into the utensil in which they are to be cooked.

The new methods of combining all ingredients at once in making cakes, or the use of cake mixes, are designed to eliminate a number of operations used in the longer preparation processes. The stacking of dishes in the order in which they will be washed, or ironing sheets so they can be unfolded and spread on the bed with the fewest motions are other examples of ways to save time and unnecessary motions.

Keeping the house in smooth-running order requires many steps, with the possibility of great waste of both energy and motions. By careful planning before work is begun, many steps may be saved. Making one trip take the place of several is one of the easiest ways to eliminate steps. This may be done by carrying several things at once as one makes trips about the kitchen or up and down stairs. Trays and baskets are helpful step-saving aids.
Sequence of Work
Improving the routing of work in the home is another way of reducing steps. The making of a movement or pathway chart on the floor to show the paths being traveled by the worker in doing a task is an easy way to learn the number of trips being made and the distances being walked. Such a chart usually suggests the most logical and effective route to follow from the beginning to the completions of a task. Kitchen jobs often lend themselves to grouping and combining or dovetailing, for instance, a cake or cookies can be backed while getting dinner.

Many tasks require a great deal of walking and frequent changes from one type of muscular work to another. When this is true, it usually saves time and effort to proceed with one operation until it is finished.

The hospital method of making a bed completely on one side and then on the other with only one trip around the bed shows how steps and motions can be eliminated by changing to a more efficient method. When blankets, sheets, and spread are tucked in securely, daily bed making is reduced to smoothing out the sheets, plumping up the pillows, and pulling the blanket and spread back in place. Finding the best order of work or the easiest method of doing a task and putting it into practice saves both steps and motions. Also one learns to work in an orderly instead of a hit-or-miss fashion.

Skill in Work
The development of skill in the performance of homemaking tasks eliminates many time-and energy-consuming motions in the day’s work. Tasks are easily done and plans are executed with speed and smoothness by the skilled and experienced homemaker. Her motions are graceful and rhythmic are a fundamental process in everyday living and may be used to increase efficiency. In watching a skillful homemaker at work, one notices the rhythm and ease with which she moves and how one motion seems to flow into the next without any conscious effort. There is a rhythmical movement in the swing of the broom, in the beating of batters in the slicing of vegetables, and in the rolling of pastry-in fact, in every skilled operation. Some homemakers work fast, others more slowly, but it will be seen that each one has a natural swing or rhythm peculiar to her. Rhythmic work is also less tiring than nonrhythmic work because the “Working bones” have double sets of muscles. When work is done rhythmically, one set rests while the other set works. If work is done tensely and awkwardly, both sets are working at once, and fatigue comes more quickly.

Posture in Housework
To avoid strain and to develop a good body carriage while working, some attention should be given to posture habits in standing, sitting, stooping, and bending while at work. Good posture in doing any task may be defined as the position which requires the expenditure of the smallest amount of energy. A good standing posture is one in which the head, neck, chest, and abdomen are balanced vertically one upon the other, so that the weight is carried mainly by the bony framework and a minimum of effort and strain is placed upon the muscles and ligaments. when the body id well balanced in the standing position, the head will be directly over the feet, and the centre of gravity will pass through the middle ear, shoulder, hip the outside of the knee, and the outside of the ankle.

A good sitting posture for work is a well-balanced and poised position. The weight is carried by the bony support of the skeleton, thus relieving the muscles and nerves of all strain. The poise is such that minimum adjustment is necessary for such action as the work may demand. The line of gravity falls through the middle of the shoulders, hips, and seat bones. The body is straight from hips to neck, and there is no flex or bend at the waistline.

Poor standing and sitting postures may result in permanent changes in the spine, in positions of the joints, ligaments, and muscles, and in the location of the organs of the body. Such changes produce strains and tensions which increase the fatigue cost of homemaking tasks. Using the most comfortable body position while working eases the body and relieves strain. Alternating standing and sitting is more restful than either one continued for a long period.

II Changes in work and storage space and equipment

These includes changes as organizing storage space, rearranging large kitchen equipment, planning work surfaces of the proper height and width, and using new equipments and tools.

Is the major equipment efficiently arranged?
it has been proved that the improved arrangement of kitchen and equipments. it has been observed that the improved arrangement released 45 to 50 per cent of the homemaker’s time and eliminated 91 per cent of the steps.

surfaces a comfortable height and width?
the heights of kitchen work surfaces in the kitchen are too low ,one must stand in a stooped, uncomfortable position while working. If the surfaces are too high the arms and shoulders must be raised to make the adjustment to the height. When the surfaces are too wide, it means stretching the arms and bending the body. Such adjustments cause unnecessary strain and fatigue.

Good standing position is possible built or adjusted to fit the physique of the worker. The most satisfactory method for determining the best work surface heights is for the worker to test different heights and find those at which tasks can be done most comfortably. To make this test, Gilbreth states : “The worker should stand erect with arms comfortably relaxed from the shoulders and with the elbows bent. She will find the most comfortable working level one high enough to cause her to raise the hands above the level of elbows.”

Are work chairs and stools comfortable?
A chair or stool of the proper height and type makes it possible for a worker to sit comfortably while doing tasks at the sink, work table or lap-board or when ironing clothes. The chair or stool should permit the worker to sit comfortably with both feet resting on the floor or a footrest
A backrest should be provided to give support to the small of the back.

Are tools and equipments the most efficient that can be chosen?

The purchasing of efficient working equipment for doing household tasks and for the care of the family should be given careful thought , because this is one of the easiest methods to control time and energy expenditures

Are small equipment and food supplies stored near the place of use?

Much needless walking, lifting, rehandling can be eliminated by storing small equipment and food supplies at the work centres where they will be used .All tools ,utensils dishes, and food supplies should also be stored in such a way that they are easily accessible.

Are supplies and tools within easy reach?

Arranging supplies and tools within easy reach simplifies many tasks .There is a normal and easy working area for the right hand and the left hand working separately and for both working together. The arcs for the normal working area in the horizontal plane are determined by the sweep of the hands with the forearms extended and the upper arms hanging at the side of the body in a natural position. The overlapping section is the area in which work with both hands may be more conveniently. Arcs drawn with the arms extended from the shoulder will give the maximum working area.Each hand has it’s normal working area in the vertical as well as the horizontal plane in which the work may be done with least time and effort. .

Normal and maximum working area-horizontal plane

Vertical plane


Class III

Simplification of work through changes in the product calls for an appraisal of available resources and the family’s standards of housekeeping . Most families have desirable finished products in mind that they consider important. Many of these standards have passed from parents to sons and daughters, and often such traditional patterns are difficult to change. Different standards, however, are more easily accepted if they are discussed by the family. So that everyone understands why the change is being made. Change in product may come from the use of different raw materials, or changes in both the raw materials and the finished use of gulabjam mix ,instead of using khowa and maida,making puri instead of chapatti.frozen peas instead of fresh peas,baked instead of mashed potatoes. A wise manager always thinks of time and energy costs in relation to the finished products, and often adjusts standards when costs run too high.