How to create ‘well-designed’ work

More than one in three UK workers is in a low-quality job that could be affecting their health, a think tank has warned.


Research by the Health Foundation found that 36% of UK workers reported being in roles where work was underpaid, unfulfilling or where they lacked the resources needed to carry out their jobs properly.


Fifteen percent of workers in low-quality jobs reported being in poor health compared to just 7% of those in higher-quality jobs.


Adam Tinson from the Health Foundation said: “Low-quality work is where someone feels stressed and unfulfilled, whether that’s [down] to pay, insecurity, a lack of autonomy or a feeling of dissatisfaction. This can harm people’s health.


“To boost job quality, employers should give greater consideration to job security, job design, management practices and the working environment.”


What is well-designed work?

Well-designed jobs will usually include the following:


  • The chance to use existing skills and develop new ones

  • The right tools to do the job

  • A variety of work

  • A degree of interdependence with other roles and other people

  • Flexibility over hours worked and working patterns

  • Good use of physical space

How can it be achieved?

Giving employees some autonomy over what their role involves will lead to greater employee engagement and commitment, and encourage better use of skills and knowledge.


Being involved in the job designing process gives employees greater focus, as they’ll know what is expected of them right from the start. Employees who help design their own work feel more satisfied with their role and more enthusiastic about taking on new challenges.


While giving employees greater input will play to their strengths by letting them use their own skills, it will also identify any gaps in training that should be addressed.


Although making use of existing skills is a major part of good job design, training should also be encouraged so employees can be more flexible whenever the job requires. Continuous learning and training should be seen as an investment for the business and for individuals.


According to a survey by Capital One, flexible working is crucial. They found that 85% of office professionals surveyed believe flexible workplace design is important, and 83% said they have their best ideas when working in flexible space options.


Communication is key for effective leadership and vital for well-designed work. Managers will need to listen to employees so they know whether they have the tools available that allow them to do their job. This can come in the form of anything; from having up-to-date computer software, to a chair that doesn’t hurt their back after prolonged use.


The physical design of a workspace should also be taken into consideration. The Capital One survey showed that the most desired design elements for workspaces include natural light (57%), easily reconfigurable furniture and spaces (37%), artwork and creative imagery (30%), collaborative spaces (30%), bold colours, and spaces for rest and relaxation (25%).


Learn more

To find out whether your organisation can benefit from well-designed work, contact a Deminos advisor on 020 7870 1090.


Author David Ralph

More posts by David Ralph

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