Time Study

PSYCH-105 Industrial Psychology

Chapter 3: Time and Motion Study

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4



Work measurement involves determination of proper time required for the job and that is why it is popularly known as time study. Time study / Work measurement is a major component of the work study.

It is the art of recording and analyzing systematically the time required to perform a motion or a series of motions. Time study is carried out by studying a worker or a group of workers carefully measuring with a stopwatch how long it takes to perform each operation on one job.

Time study may be used to determine the standard number of minutes that a qualified, properly trained, and experienced person should take to perform a specific task or operation when working at a normal pace. This time standard may be used for planning and scheduling work, for cost estimating, or for labour cost control, or it may serve as the basis for a wage incentive plan. 

It is must to do motion study first so that during the time study workers are using only those motions that are necessary and most desirable. It time stud is done without motion study and rates of wages are set on the basis of time study, workers may adopt a method of work which will fetch them higher pay.

A time study board and stopwatch are used to observe time required to do each operation.

Objectives / Advantages of Time Study

  1. Determines manpower requirement
  2. Helps in prediction exact delivery dates
  3. Determines a normal time for a job
  4. Helps in labour cost control
  5. Provides relevant data for efficient work planning and control
  6. Facilitates effective placement of right kinds of people on plant or equipment
  7. Can be useful in reducing the cost involved in the proposed production orders.

Steps / Procedure of Time Study

  1. Selection of work to be studied. There are various priorities on the basis of which task or job to be studied is selected such as bottleneck or repetitive jobs, jobs with longer cycle time, to check correctness of existing time, comparison of two methods etc.
  2. Establishing standard methods, material equipments and working conditions. To achieve performance standard accuracy it is necessary to record the correct method of working.
  3. Selecting the average worker for observation, Necessary confidence in the worker should be created so as to obtain his operation
  4. Division of work into elements suitable for time study. This is done for easy observation and accurate measurement.
  5. Studying the operator doing the job for validity of time study results, recording of data by repetition of work is necessary
  6. Recording time with the help of stop watch on the time study board for the required number of work cycles
  7. Selection of mode time value from the number of cycles recorded for each element. Mode value of different elements will be added to get the ‘normal time’ for doing the job. Normal time is the time required by an average worker working under normal conditions to perform a job
  8. Adding allowances to normal time to get the standard time like relaxation allowance, fatigue allowance etc. A worker cannot work all the day continuously. He will require time for rest going for toilet, drinking water etc. Unavoidable delays may occur because of tool breakage etc. So some extra time is added to the normal time. The extra time is known as allowance. It is generally allotted as per the company policy. The standard time is the sum of Normal time and allowances. 

Benefits of Time Study

  1. Help in determining the ideal work load of different categories of workers
  2. May be used for evaluating the performance of employees
  3. Helps in designing a suitable incentive wage plan to motivate the workers
  4. Cost standards are very accurate if they are based on the results of time study.

Limitations of Time Study

  1. Very subjective process depending on the accuracy of observer. So different results are obtained by different observers.
  2. The standard time determined by the time study may not be accurate because of incorrect performance rating of the operator under study
  3. Usually have an adverse effect on the workers. They may not show the normal behavior pattern when they are being observed.

Comparison between Time and Motion Study

S. No.

Basis of comparison

Motion Study

Time Study



It relates to watching and recording the movement of workers

It involves careful measurement of time required to do the different parts of a job



Motion study is concern with minimization of movement of operations

Time study is concerned with increasing the productivity to labour



The purpose of motion study is to determine the best way of doing a job

Purpose of time study is to determine fair day’s work



Motion study is conducted with a moving camera

Time study is conducted with stop watch

Author – Dr. Niyati Garg

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