The Worker

Lesson 43 : Energy management In Home Related Activities

Managing Home Related Activities

The Worker:

The worker is the person performing the job or the task. The cost of worker input will have four broad components.

  1. The affective component. Attitudes, feelings, and interests.
  2. The cognitive component. Knowledge, thought processes, and skills.
  3. The temporal component. The time of the worker and the timing of tasks.
  4. The physical component. The use of the body in the work

The Affective Component

Affective component is concerned with

  1. The worker’s personal feelings about the activity –his attitude and interests, his preferences and dislikes. These aspects may contribute to the homemaker’s feelings of working hard and easily. Feelings of working easily may contribute to greater satisfaction with the work. Feelings of working hard may be directly related to the unhappy feeling that we are doing more than necessary to accomplish the work.
  2. It is more difficult to do those activities that we dislike compared to those we like – it takes more out of us emotionally for we do not enjoy the time spent and it ids not satisfying.
  3. Dissatisfaction with work may have many deleterious consequences. Feelings of tiredness and fatigue may become chronic. The accomplishment of work-oriented goals may be hampered. The dissatisfaction may permeate other aspects of our lives and into the lives of others.
  4. Work has an influence on many sides of our life. If we are unhappy in our work, this unhappiness has its effect on our home life. If we are happy with what we do and the people with whom we work, then this satisfaction contributes to more satisfying and other richer living outside the work situation.

The Cognitive Component

  1. The cognitive component describes the contribution of thinking –using knowledge, setting and defining goals, makinf plans, paying attention during work, making many judgments as the work progresses so that the activity can be controlled , and developing and using habits and skills.
  2. As the homemaker performs the work of the home, she uses knowledge based on formal and informal study and on experience, she makes plans, judgments, decisions and assumes responsibility for them. She pays attention to the task or tasks, mentally processing information as the work progresses partly a mental attribute. All of this constitutes the intellectual dimensions of the workers input, one of the determinants in ease of work and in job satisfaction.
  3. The cognitive component serves two functions. One is to plan and coordinate the use of resources prior to action. Resources external to the homemaker, such as money, material goods, supplies and the personal contributions of other family members are considered. The other personal contributions of the homemaker are also coordinated with her intellectual contribution.
  4. The second broad function of the cognitive component is to bridge the gap between the goal or stated task and its accomplishment . Mental activities are needed to carry out or perform the activity and produce results.
  5. In performing these two broad functions, the homemaker might be thought of as a system that handles information, various inputs are required to determine the use of resources, interrelated elements exists within the system to produce output, the output is the resources use of the family. The cognitive component is concerned with processes involved within the system for receiving and using the information, i.e for handling the information. It is through understanding the processes involved in handling information that the management specialist can help achieve an organized approach to solving problems in work and workplace design.

The Temporal Component

  1. The time contributed by the homemaker in doing the work of the home is part of her nonphysical input. So is her time for employment work. The time contribution includes not only the total amount of time for action but the timing of the events. Too often the total amount of time and the allocation among homemaking tasks is considered the total contribution.
  2. Time provides an organizing medium for our lives, a common denominator within which we operate. Time does not change with the events that take place within it. Time represents a succession of events and therefore, change. Appreciation of some of the consequences of living in time provides a frame of reference.
  3. An objective of studying the temporal component of the cost of work is to identify those underlying operations that will permit us to gain the most satisfaction from use of time.
  4. Control of time requires recognition of the interrelatedness of the past, present and the future. The past, present and future are represented in the succession of events. The present is always changing to become part of the past. The passage of time shows the constant change that is taking place.
  5. One of the costs of the temporal component is the integration that we must make of the past and present and the anticipation of the future.

The proportion of allocation of time may vary from time to time and person to person. A homemaker may have certain freedom in timing her activities. But the important constraint is inflexible events, the nature of household work and the home maker preferences. It is important to realize that, with time, we can structure our lives so that we are carrying out those activities that are the more satisfying to us.


The physical component deals with the skeletal structure, the muscle action and the circulation system of the human body or the worker and the physical work environment.

  1. The physical cost s of the work of the home are tobe thought of in terms of effects on all the systems of the body that function during work. Energy expenditure is relatively light for many of the jobs in today’s homes and is unlikely to be correlated with fatigue. The maintenance of working position is sometimes the most fatiguing aspect of the job. Movements made during work performance may constitute beneficial exercise or they can subject parts of the body to stresses that are fatiguing or detrimental to general well-being.
  2. The worker body constitutes her most important item of household equipment.

The physical cost of work is the study of energy expenditure to each task. The amount of energy used is studied in two ways, i.e Direct method and indirect method.

  1. First by the measurement of heat given off by the body, (as a result of oxidation within the body), and second, by the measurement of both oxygen used and carbon dioxide produced or by measuring only the amount of oxygen used. The first method , measuring the amount of heat produced is called direct calorimetry and requires the use of extremely delicate instruments inside an expensive heat-proof chamber. The other method , indirect calorimetry, requires less expensive equipment and simpler laboratories.
  2. Either direct or indirect calorimetry is a means of measuring a rate of oxidation in the body as a whole. Because energy expenditure represents a rate of oxidation which occurs as muscles are used, energy cannot be saved and accumulated to produce a large store to be drawn upon at a time of greater need.
  3. In order to develop an understanding of energy expenditure as a measure of the physical cost of work, it is more important to have a general knowledge of probable levels of energy expenditure for different kinds of activities than to know the specific average values resulting from any one study. There is a wide variation in results for even a standardized task from one subject to another and for any one subject from trial to trial.

Anyone of these components may assume unusual importance to one family and be relatively unimportant to another or to a given family at one stage and not at another. The affective component concerns the part that personal interests and attitudes play in making the work easy or difficult. The woman who likes to be "on the move" will not find a work method easier if it eliminates walking and requires her to remain for long in one spot. The cognitive component is the component of thinking. The knowledge the worker has of how to do the work and of the result desired, and the skill she has to produce the result, contribute importantly to ease of work. Time is generally considered an aspect of the homemaker's work and regarded as one of the resources with which the family's goals are achieved. Units of time provide an easily understood measure of the cost of work. The physical component of work is widely recognized. It is related to the energy expenditure for different activities.

Last modified: Saturday, 24 March 2012, 9:55 AM