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1. Explain the different ways the length of time people stayed in their jobs have changed today since the time of my grandparents.
In today’s fast-pace society, one is constantly having to change, especially with regard to the jobs one has and the careers one may pursue. The ‘Jobs for life’ idea is long gone. My grandparents probably started work for one company when they were aged around 15-16, and they would have been more likely to stay with the same company for the rest of their life – until they retired.
The majority of people, ‘back in the day’, tended to stay in one job. They may have progresses in the company (e.g. from assistant manager to manager to managing director). They would have never even thought about the possibility of changing their job, unless they were forced to do so (if they got fired for example).
It is presumed that in a person’s average working life, they will not change jobs several times, but will also change their line of career.
Nowadays, there is no guarantee that one may have a ‘job for life’, so it is important for the working people in today’s society to be prepared for change due to various factors which could be brought up.
2. Task 18.1:- Smith Brothers is a very traditional firm that makes garden furniture by hand. This furniture sells well locally and is always in demand. Over the last year, there has been an increase in the number of people buying garden furniture, especially of the wooden type. The brothers have a big decision to make, do they expand their business and create more jobs for people or modernise the company and bring in technology and let the computers make the furniture? The proposal has created a hostile reaction from the workers. List the reasons for and against Smith Brothers changing their method of production of garden furniture. [Concentrate on the good and bad points of using computers in the production process].
1. Good points of using computers in the production business:-
* More accurate measurements in making the furniture.
* Less human error due to the use of computers.
* Stronger fixtures as computers are being used.
* Cut back on unnecessary costs e.g. employees’ wages.
* Cut back on loss of time, as computers can be working for almost all of the day e.g. 19 hours a day. Whereas humans can’t be working for that long.
2. Bad Points of using computers in the production business:-
* The degree of flexibility required by an employee in order to get a job will increase if more computers are used.
* Although, the Smith Brothers will be making cuts in the initial number of employees (replaced by computers) they will have to employ technicians to ensure that their computers are working constantly.
* If something serious happens to a computer, the whole system may be disrupted, thus delaying production of the furniture.
* If the measurement in the prototype goes wrong, then the computers will automatically continue to make the wrong products, thus increasing the time needed for production, wasting resources, money and materials.
* Dealing with computers/machines may require a certain amount of training, especially in the production process, knowing when to push which switch etc. therefore, this will take time and may cost money in order to train the employees to know how to make them work.
1. Task 18.2:- You have been given the task of trying to change the attitude of the people that work with you, with regard to training as they feel it is not worth it. Give your reasons and examples as to why you think they should change their attitude.
Change is a natural aspect to growing life and will continue to happen as technology becomes more dominant. In order to remain successful, it is essential that companies constantly train and educate their employees. Modern companies should aim to ensure that all have an underlining net of skills and eventually, has the skills that are required to perform a certain number of tasks. This will make the employee or trainee more demanding to other potential employers.
Although training involves time and money, the time and money does pay off in relation to the employee. For example, if the employer training the employee trains them up really hard, then that employee would be able to get a potentially better job with another employer. When the new employer trains that employee up again, then that employee can once again go off and get a better job with more pay. This cycle will continue, provided that the employee stays in a similar field of work as marketing skills may not be required for administration tasks.
Training will also improve the performance and efficiency of employees in general as well as training unskilled workers. Training also reduces the need for supervision and provides greater opportunities for the staff or employees. Individual employees being trained would find that due to their training, there would be a reduction in the number of accidents in the workplace, and they would be less likely to make mistakes. Their pay would increase too and they could gain a promotion to another job, if not change jobs to a better company all together.
2. Task 18.6:- Delta Homes plc, a property developer, has a Personnel Department. Much of the work of this department involves recruiting construction workers on temporary contracts.
a) Explain ONE reason why Delta Homes plc employs workers on temporary contracts. [2 Marks]
Delta Homes plc employs workers on temporary contracts because they are unable to provide permanent contracts, therefore, temporary contracts – which allows the hiring and/or firing of employees to suit the business cycle of the company – can be put forward.
b) Explain TWO problems for Delta Homes plc that might arise from employing workers on temporary contracts. [6 Marks]
Two potential problems that Delta Homes plc may face due to these temporary contracts:-
* Is the fact that the job security, which is considered by many people to be very important, disintegrates. Job security is very important because it provides stability and can lead to high motivation. Many employees would like to know that when they come to work tomorrow, they will still have their job to go to and continue to receive income. The idea of temporary contacts is worrying for many people, especially the employees who have families to support and also have the responsibility of providing for them. They want to know that when they take out a load for five years or longer, they will still have a job, enabling them to meet the monthly payments.
* Similarly, in mortgage companies, if one of these Delta homes plc temporary employees decide to purchase a home, then the company would want to know if they have a secure job which will enable them to make the payments and if they are employed for more than 1 1/2 years or so. Therefore, many of Delta Homes plc’s employees will have a hard time trying to find a mortgage for their home purchase because they may not be employed for long or may get fired any day.
Task 18.7:- An increasing number of employees work from home and keep in contact with the office using a computer and a modem. Write a report on the effects this way of working might have on the employee and the implications for the employer. (Concentrate on any good and bad points for the employer and the employee who might be working from home).
Good Points for the employer and the employee who might be working from home:-
* There is no need for travelling to work everyday and during rush hours. Both the employer and employee benefit from this because the employer won’t need to be accountable for the employee’s late arrival into work.
* Computers stationed at home anywhere in the country can be linked to a company and employers do not have to rely on local labour to fulfil the workforce. The employee gets to work at home just as if they were in their office, due to the system link-up. Saves time and hassle of using USB storage devices or floppy disks to transfer files and data/information between office and work. Also, when the employer wants a report in, then the employee working from home can just email it to the employers office email address so there is no need to travel to meet a deadline.
* Working from home allows the employee to be flexible, so working when they have the time to and are available. For example, a mother of three children could work after normal office hours (at home) when the children are asleep or are distracted. Also, if her children are ill, she need not get a nanny or child-minder to look after them, she can put her work on hold for a while and look after the children herself. Due to this, she doesn’t need to take time off work.
* The employer does not need to provide the employee the premises to work, as they can do it at home due to the computer system link. This way, the employer can cut down on costs for the company, e.g. the food they pay for in order to feed their employees, the cost of building extensions to the main office building, the additional cost of the electricity and gas bills. Also, employers can use labour in areas of high unemployment so, can reduce the salaries they pay – cut back on costs.
Bad Points for the employer and the employee who might be working from home:-
* The employee may not be able to work at home unsupervised, due to lack of concentration, thereby not finishing reports and missing deadline dates.
* The employer does not know whether the employee is working or taking an early holiday. They won’t have any say on the hours that the employee puts into their work.
* If the employee works overtime, then the exact hours overtime may not be known because there was no witness. So, employee may lose out on the overtime pay.
* If there is a system link failure with the computer, then the employee will be stuck and may lose all of their work. Also, lose time on working on the report/project.
1. What does flexible working mean?
Flexible working is when the employee is required to come into work and do a job with out much notice. They have to be able to keep their schedules open when it comes to work. A bit like a doctor who is on call – he doesn’t know when a casualty will come in; therefore, he has to be available if something happens.
2. Why do more companies require their employees to have flexible working?
More companies require their employees to have flexible working because many of them require their facilities to be functioning 24/7/365 – 24 hours a day. They cannot afford to let their equipment remain idle for long periods of the day.
3. Why is flexible working of great importance for companies whose employees work with computers?
A person/employee who repairs or mends computers would have to be flexible because they will wait for a telephone call or message to say they are needed to repair a machine. This call could come during the evening, at weekends or even at bank holidays – whenever the computer breaks down. The company could not afford to let the computers stand idle for great periods of time, mainly because we have come to rely on them so much. If a machine is not working, then it is costing the company money and hindering somebody’s work.
1. Why do companies spend a lot of time in making sure the computers they are going to buy are the correct ones?
Computer equipment is very expensive to buy. If one buys a computer it is often said to be ‘out of date’ immediately after one has bought it. Something new has already been introduced, which is better and more powerful than the original one purchased. This is because computers are continually being updated; therefore, the pace of change is very fast. Therefore, companies will spend a great deal of time and energy in making sure that the computers they purchase are the correct ones for the job that needs to be done.
2. Why is it important that a technician makes sure all computers are working all the time?
It is important that a technician makes sure all computers are working all the time because if they stand idle, they are losing the company money. This is why companies employ technicians to ensure that the computers are functioning and working properly without any problems.
3. Why is it important that companies are always looking to update their computers?
Companies will always need to update their machines because we live in a fast-changing world and they need to be able to keep up with the pace. If they do not update, then they could become uncompetitive and would not be able to produce the same results in the given time. This could lead to more unemployment in the company.
1. How has the use of email helped reduced waste?
The use of email has reduced the amount of paper that is used in the world, which in turn has reduced the number of trees hat need to be cut down to produce the paper. Also, the energy used to cut down the trees has also been saved, which could have an effect on global warming. This has become of great concern to business, the government and the public in recent years.
2. How has the use of computers reduced waste in industrial processes (making products)?
Computers have reduced waste in industrial processes by guaranteeing that each batch of products or materials that will be made would be to the same quality as the last and the one before that. This is due to the decrease in human error. This cuts down on the amount of resources used in the process.
3. What is and why is recycling important in society?
Recycling is the re-use or sustainable use of products e.g. paper, glass and steel cans. Recycling is important in society because the huge amount of litter that has been created through the disposal of ‘throw-away’ materials. These ‘throw-away’ materials are disposed of in land-fill sites around the world. Eventually, and slowly, we will run out of land-fill sites and so where will the waste go? This can be stopped by preventing the production of such ‘throw-away’ materials and the promoting or the production of recyclable materials.