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About good work design

For: Employers and managers

Good work is good for you. The design of our work affects the way we feel and can influence our motivation, engagement and stress levels at work.

Evidence from Safe Work Australia shows that good work design can be used to prevent harm to health and safety, promote health and wellbeing and support work participation and productivity.

The Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2023-2033 highlights the need for WHS considerations to be embedded into workplaces and organisations via good work practices and good work design.

What is good work design

Good work design can be applied to both new and existing work. It considers ‘the content and organisation of people’s tasks, activities, relationships and responsibilities’ (Sharon K Parker, 2014).

Good work design looks at the physical, biomechanical, cognitive and psychosocial characteristics of jobs and identifies what is required for optimal outcomes. It considers individual differences and is tailored to specific work situations.

Good work design processes can be used by designers, employers, managers and supervisors, and employees. It can be applied across an organisation, within individual areas or teams and/or by individuals within a team. When workers undertake their own good work design it’s known as job crafting.

SMART work design

The SMART Work Design Model can be used as a tool to optimise work design by addressing psychosocial risks.

The SMART model encourages consideration of to what degree a person has:

  • Stimulating work – requiring use of a variety of skills, performing a variety of tasks and problem-solving demands.
  • Mastery at work – from having role clarity, getting feedback on performance, and taking a task from beginning to end.
  • Agency – having a sense of autonomy and control over how work is scheduled, the methods used to achieve it and ability to make decisions.
  • Relational work having support at work and connecting to others and to the purpose of their work.
  • Tolerable work demands – that are sustainable, don’t over or under stretch them and don’t create role conflict.

Good work design for managers and supervisors

We know that as a manager or supervisor you play a key role in designing and delivering good work for your team.

When you do this effectively it benefits your team members, helps you to meet your responsibilities as a leader and makes your job much easier.

By using good work design when performing the following 10 actions you can support better work health and safety outcomes, work participation and productivity:

  1. Knowing your team
  2. Building trust in your team
  3. Supporting your team
  4. Effective communication
  5. Addressing work demands
  6. Managing change at work
  7. Managing absence
  8. Enhancing performance
  9. Providing flexible work
  10. Supporting return to work

Comcare has developed a suite of videos to help you design good work for your teams.

Watch and share the videos on Good work design.

Access our Good Work Design micro learns

We've developed a suite of Good Work Design micro learns that can be accessed via our learning management system, Comcare LMS.

The micro learns aim to raise awareness and help employers, managers and supervisors create psychologically safe teams, better manage psychosocial risks, and build manager capability to design good work for their teams.

To access the micro learns, you first need to create an account in Comcare LMS (see the steps to create an account). Then, select the training item that you are interested in and login with your email and password.

More information

Page last reviewed: 23 March 2023

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1300 366 979 |

Date printed 02 Mar 2024