Do your employees have variety in their work tasks?
By Madison Hanscom, PhD
Let’s say you are about to start your workday. Imagine two scenarios:
• A day in which you will be doing the same task repeatedly for 8 hours
• A day in which you will rotate between a variety of tasks for 8 hours
Which would you prefer? Although it feels great to get really good at a particular task, over time this can take a toll on motivation. Research has shown that individuals with variety in their work tasks are more satisfied with their jobs (1). Repetitive tasks with little variation can also contribute to complacency and attentional issues, which can be detrimental to safety.
Ideally, jobs should be designed to where individuals are not doing the same thing all day, every day. The right balance is going to determine largely on the type and nature of the work, but some companies have found it successful to blend and distribute tasks and skills across a few roles so people can be more stimulated. The idea is to give people different responsibilities and duties to break up the monotony. Another successful method includes rotation — where an employee might work on a certain task for several hours and then rotate to another.
For many workers, task variety has been a pain point while working from home during COVID-19. Less than half (45%) of workers reported feeling the level of variety in their work tasks was good or very good (2). This means the majority of workers do not have a variety of things to do during the workday.
Whether you are leader to employees out in the field or in a remote/virtual setting — think about giving employees as much variety as you can.
At Propulo Consulting, we care about the success, health, and wellbeing of your workers. We partner with you to improve the world of work by building a smarter and safer culture. We also offer expertise to help you implement and sensible Flex Work / remote work strategy so you can continue to deliver great results while having a happy workforce.
(1) Humphrey, S. E., Nahrgang, J. D., & Morgeson, F. P. (2007). Integrating motivational, social, and contextual work design features: a meta-analytic summary and theoretical extension of the work design literature. Journal of applied psychology, 92(5), 1332.
(2) Centre for Transformative Work Design survey: https://360e1fd0-be66-41c9-867d-7a6618e5d7fe.filesusr.com/ugd/bd06d8_7d3fc9d8e05449cca8e8ff4d5873e977.pdf