Work cycle

Work cycle
See also

Work cycle is work that repeats at the end of the current cycle and continues with a regular frequency. In other words, when the current cycle is complete, the next cycle is started, and the sequence continues to repeat. A normal work period, such as a shift, will contain one or more work cycles. An example of a single cycle might be a truck driver who makes a single round trip each 8-hour shift.

Worker is building or producing a product multiple times over a normal work period shift. The worker is expected to produce many parts in the course of the work period. The cycle is repeated over and over until vompletion of the work or some disruption of the work cycle occurs. This disruption could be a problem, a scheduled lunchtime, the end of the work period, etc. Basically, the worker continues to repeat the work cycle as long as required, often for the entire shift[1].

The length of the work cycle

Some utilities categorize activities as long-cycle work (developing and maintaining) and short-cycle work (operating):

  • Long-cycle: typically planned work, often with long dyrations (even in the case of a quick patrol inspection, which are usually bundled into several days or weeks of work)
  • Short-cycle: typically unplanned work, often with short durations

Commercial work management systems tended to focus on a specific type of work. They were designed to handle either short-cycle crews or long-cycle work[2] .

Social construction of the social work cycle

On this comprehensive cycle we place:

  • The client-worker-agency cycle
  • The political-social-ideological cycle
  • The agency-profession cycle.

The first of the three deals with the face-to-face encounters between the client and the social worker. The second contains broader societal debates where social problems are constructed. The third cycle consists of professional conversations dealing with knowledge in social work. These cycles interact continuously with each other; their influence on each other is multidirectional. Our picture of social work is fuller if we look at it on all three cycles. However, it is also possible to concentrate on one cycle alone, in which case the other two will act as framing contexts[3].

Work-rest cycle

The methods of measurement generally used to evaluate the effects of different work-rest cycles may be classified into two basic types:

  1. The continuous-work method
  2. The interpolated-task method

In the former, some measure of performance is continuously obtained while the operator works without interruption. This method can be used only if a continuous or repetitive task is employed, and it generally demands that work be homogeneous and that frequentt measures of performance be permissible. Use of this method has generally resulted in the demonstration of productivity trends.

In the interpolated-task method a standard task or test is introduced before, during or after the work period. This method is used most frequently when the work does not permit continuous observation and measurement: however, the possible inferences relative to performance efficiency are greatly dependent upon the nature of the interpolated task used. In addition, with this method the interpolated task itself may produce an effect through its novelty or as a break in the routine of work. Daily and weekly trends in performance have been found less consistently with this method than with the other[4].


  1. T.D. Martin, J.T. Bell 2016, p.33
  2. S. Borlase 2017, p.71
  3. A. Jokinen 2018, p.15
  4. J.T. Ray, O.E. Martin, E.A. Alluisi 1960, p. 20


Author: Natalia Talarek