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Working on work design in Canberra

On the invitation of the ACT Branch of the Human Factors and Ergonomic Society, Sharon presented to executives in Canberra this week, on the topic of “Transformative Outcomes Through Innovative Work Practices”. Participants came from a diverse range of organisations, such as ambulance services, small business association, and the health sector.

Together with Dr Kirsten Way from the Centre for Sustainable HRM and Wellbeing, Sharon then ran a full-day workshop with professionals and senior managers on work design. Topics covered include what constitutes good work design from a psychosocial perspective, why does it matter, examples of innovative work redesigns, and "how" to redesign work.

As part of the workshop, Florian ran the icecream making activity (see earlier blog), which participants agreed was a terrific way to understand the importance of good work design, and especially having autonomy in one’s job.

The workshop was a great opportunity for participants to share stories about good and poor work redesigns. It appears there are many more examples of the latter, with organisational restructuring often being implemented with minimal participation of staff, a focus on short-term cost cutting only, and a lack of systems thinking. Unsurprisingly the results tended to be fairly dire for job quality and productivity.

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