The word flow of work denotes the logical and systematic arrangement of activities in such a manner that it will ensure smooth movement of work. The movement of work from one person to another, from one department to another or from one section to another. The way in which work in an organization moves from one point to another and from one operation to another. According to Leffingwell flow of work means “as a movement of work in terms of quantity, speed and continuousness”.
A constant flow of work accompanied by a routine results in high efficiency of the organization. When the work flow is disrupted it will reduce the efficiency of workers. The analysis of the above definition points out the following essentials of flow of work :
(a) Flow of work is primarily concerned with logical and systematic arrangement of activities.
(b) It ensures continuous and uninterrupted movement of work.
(c) It signifies work movement in speed so as to ensure desired output without much delay.
(d) By avoiding difficulties during performances of work, it ensures smooth and steady flow of work.
Flow of work is a management problem and as such it can be solved by the managers and not by clerks.
Difficulties in Flow of Work
Many difficulties are faced in getting an ideal flow of work. These problems are :
1. Unequal Distribution of Work—Office work is highly subject to peaks and valleys because there may be more incoming mails in morning hours and on Monday. Due to heavy rush on certain days work may increase. This unequal distribution of work creates obstacles in the way of smooth flow of work.
2. Interruption to Work—Sometimes the work is interrupted due to internal and external factors. Stoppage of work due to internal factors may be caused by lack of raw material, non-availability of information and change of work due to change in plan. External disruption to work is caused by outsiders calling on employees and external telephone calls.
3. Lack of Standard—Office work is to be standardized and lack of standards to job may cause a great deal of disruption to ideal flow of work. The steady flow of work will be reduced when there is no standards for the job.
4. Lack of proper planning—The flow of work is affected to a great extent if there is no proper planning to work.
5. Failure of power—Work flow can be interrupted due to failure of power. The problem of power can be reduced by operating own power generation unit.
6. Absence of Employees—The absence of employees on work will creat difficulty in attaining a smooth flow of work.
7. Faulty Layout—When the layout plan is not properly planned the work will pass through a wrong point and as such the flow of work will be affected seriously.
8. External Factors—The outside noise, visit of visitors, accidents and telephone calls creat interruption in attaining a sound and smooth flow of work.