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Organization of working time



Organizing work time (OWT) consists in determining the amount and temporal distribution of work time, as well as the tasks that each worker must carry out at each moment, so that a set of conditions are respected and that the solution optimizes or is satisfactory in relation to a quality indicator or more. That is, given a time horizon (such as a year, for example) and a work group, organizing work time is to determine, for each person in the group, how many hours you should work each day and with what schedule, and what tasks you should carry out in every moment. The quality of the solution adopted must be assessed from the point of view of the company or the institution (adaptation of the temporary profile of the capacity to the temporary profile of the demand, cost, robustness in the absence, use of overtime...) and from the point of view of the employees (regularity of work schedules, number of days followed by performing a high number of hours of work, distribution of work party days...).

Since the environments in which it is applied are very varied, OWT can be a very simple or very complex task. In an entity in which the schedule is fixed and common to all staff and in which each member of the staff is specialized in a particular task and does not know how to do any other, there is not much room to make decisions. On the other hand, in a system with annualized working hours (working hours can be distributed irregularly throughout the year, provided that the sum is equal to a previously established amount) and multipurpose personnel, for example, there are numerous solutions of very different quality, and determining one that is optimal or, at least, satisfactory or acceptable to the entity and staff, is a complex task that can require a lot of work if the appropriate tools are not available to solve it.

This line deals in depth with the most important modalities of the flexible organization of working time and of the productive systems that must operate continuously, focusing attention on the meso level of the organization of working time. This level consists of three stages: the planning, programming and assignment of tasks for each person in the workforce. To this end, instruments (mainly mathematical models) have been designed, developed and applied that allow solving OWT problems for different cases, and always with the maximum “increase the competitiveness of companies and institutions respecting the quality of life of the people who work in them".

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