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Job Rotation

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Job rotation means that workers move from one task to another, that is, their jobs are exchanged periodically. In some cases, these are similar tasks, although within jobs located in different contexts, sections or departments. For example, the passage of an operator from one sector to another within an assembly line or the exchange of a typist from the administration department to the sales department, are examples of job rotation from one place to another, without changing the type of tasks and activities they perform.

The time interval that remains in the same position or task can range from less than one workday to several months. In any case, it's convenient that the interested parties themselves participate in this change initiative and give their opinion regarding the rotation interval.

In principle, the most immediate objective that is usually pursued with the rotation of positions is to favor a certain diversity of tasks, activities and environments, to get out of the daily routine.

The reasons that can lead to job rotation are varied:

Momentary inability to suppress or modify certain tedious or heavy task. Security of equipment and people.

Distribute the fatigue that can produce the performance of the tasks of a position. Greater motivation of the staff.

The rotation of positions and the extension of tasks are two organizational modifications that are adopted as a way of preventing some pathologies related to repetitive movements such as tenosynovitis, epicondylitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc., as long as they imply a real change in the movements that are made and don't subject people to other risk factors (vibrations) that can cause similar pathologies.

It's possible that some job has requirements that make it specially repetitive and heavy and, as long as it's not modified conveniently, the rotation of jobs among several people is resorted to. This may be essentially indicated for safety reasons, when one of the positions is fatigued or dangerous and possible errors can have serious consequences. In these cases, job rotation would be an urgent and transitory solution, while a better alternative is found to solve the problem.

When the positions rotate, the boundaries between the jobs involved and the people who perform them are blurred, and a versatile and interchangeable staff is obtained. This contributes to the adaptability of the company and the workers, thanks to the functional mobility and the increase in knowledge that this may entail. Although job rotation doesn't necessarily entail a qualitative improvement of the work for the people involved, it may be of interest for what it means for variety and change, in terms of the skills and knowledge required for the performance of the different positions and may Be a way to get away from the monotony and rest from a task. By adopting a system of job rotation, the possible deterioration of social relations between workers should be avoided,

However, we must always be aware of people "affected by this rotation of jobs" and their way of perceiving this system. There may be resistance of older workers to learn new jobs, there may be a perception of ownership of work tasks by the worker, physical problems to move from one position to another, difficulty in selecting the positions to rotate or fear to the mistakes of the workers or, even, can be counterproductive in those jobs in which a single exposure to risk (think of some radiation) can have negative consequences.

The rotation of tasks must be used to humanize the work. As much as possible, we cannot afford to dehumanize it.

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