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Work is the various tasks that a colonist can do to keep a colony running, and perform almost all non-combat related tasks. The Work Menu allows the player to set the types of work you want your colonists to perform, though some colonists cannot perform all tasks. For example, nobles can only access research and firefighting whilst a settler can access all skills.

By default, the Work tab can be opened with F1.Content exclusively from the PC Edition

Example of work priorities and the different work types.

Manual priorities[edit]

The 'Manual priorities' mode toggles the interface between 'standard mode' (red X) and 'manual mode' (green check).

  • Standard mode: Colonists only do work types they're assigned to, noted by a green check. Tasks on the left rank more important than tasks on the right.
  • Manual mode: Each colonist's work type can be prioritized from 1 (highest priority) to 4 (lowest priority). Blank tasks will not be performed. For tasks with the same priority, tasks on the left will be performed first.

Regardless of mode, all available work of one priority will be done before the next priority. If Hauling is set to 1, then a colonist will haul every single object, even those halfway across the map, before doing the rest of their tasks. They have no regard for efficiency.

Assigning work[edit]

An efficient colony depends on colonists doing work they're proficient at. Boxes on the work menu are used to assign work, and each box has a visible outline. The higher the colonist's skill, the brighter the outline, ranging from red (worst), to white, to bright yellow (best). Also, hovering over a skill box displays the colonist's skill level.

Each box will also show a colonist's passion for that skill indicated by one or two flames. This will help you decide who you want doing each task.

It is a good idea to study your colonists' skills and apply them to their strengths. Using the wrong people will slow down your progression. To help keep you from using the wrong colonist for a job, a crunching sound is made when you assign a pawn to a work type which they won't do well due to low skill. Some colonists may not have a box for one or more work types; they are incapable of that work.

Incapable of work types[edit]

Some characters are incapable of certain work and/or certain categories of work (i.e. violent, dumb labor). Incapabilities are listed under "Incapable Of" in a pawn's Bio tab. Hovering the cursor over a listed incapability will show its source. Pawns will never perform a task related to their incapability, with a few exceptions. This is distinct from characters with a skill level of 0 in a skill. At level 0, a pawn is still capable of performing the task, they will just be extremely slow, ineffective, inefficient, and have an increased chance of failure. Where an exception exists, pawns incapable of a task are treated as having level 0 in the relevant skill, even if they had a higher skill before becoming incapable. For example, an exception is that characters who are incapable of plant work can still cut down trees - if it is ordered as construction work through the Architect>Orders menu.

What a pawn is incapable of is determined by their traits, backstories, title Content added by the Royalty DLC, status as a slave,Content added by the Ideology DLC or ideoligious role Content added by the Ideology DLC. Typically, incapabilities from multiple sources stack. Though rare, it is quite possible that, given a perfectly wrong combination of backstory limitations, a pawn may be so limited that they are incapable of practically everything. SlaveryContent added by the Ideology DLC is unique in this regard, in that it removes all other incapabilities and replaces them with its own. See that page for details.

Occasionally, incapabilities have interactions with other mechanics, such as the limitation of traits; for example, a "non-violent" colonist will never have the brawler trait.

A pawn can be "incapable of":

Work type Effect
Animals Prohibits working with animals, including taming wild animals, training tamed animals and collecting materials such as wool from tame animals. Does not disable the ability to hunt wild animals, nor the animals skill which also governs hunting ability.
Caring Prohibits any medical tasks, including Doctoring, Nursing, and Surgery; on humans or animals.
Dumb Labor Hauling, Rearming, Refueling, Loading, Cremating, and Cleaning. Does not prevent a colonist from hauling as part of another job such as bringing construction materials to something they're building.
Hauling Hauling, Rearming, Refueling, Loading, and Cremating. Does not prevent a colonist from hauling as part of another job such as bringing construction materials to something they're building.
Intellectual Research, Drug Production, Scanning, Computer Hacking, and so on.
Plants Growing, Sowing, Harvesting, and Plant Cutting (including cutting trees).
Skilled Labor Brewer, Butcher, Cook, Constructor and Deconstructor, Miner, Grower, Harvester, Plant Cutter, Crafter, Smith, Tailor, Repairer, Driller, Fabricator, Machinist, Refiner, Smelter, Stonecutter, and Drug Production.
Social Trading (including while on caravans or at faction bases), Recruiting prisoners, and all Wardening.
Violent All Ranged and Melee combat, Hunting, Wardening, Slaughtering, and Executing prisoners.
An incapable of Violent pawn cannot defend themself from attacks. This includes a prohibition against equipping even "non-damaging" weapons such as smoke launchers or EMP grenades, and weapons equipped only for their buffs, such as the eltex staff Content added by the Royalty DLC. A "non-violent" colonist can still be drafted, use psycasts Content added by the Royalty DLC (except berserk, berserk pulse, flashstorm, and neuroquake), and order combat mechanoids as a mechanitorContent added by the Biotech DLC. Pawns that are incapable of violence can provoke social fights, but will not fight back during them. However, these pawns are capable of Extreme mental breaks that murder animals or other colonists. These pawns are also incapable of slaughtering tamed animals, but are in fact able to euthanize animals and humans as a medical operation to achieve the same benefits of slaughtering.

Prioritizing a task[edit]

A colonist can be directed to immediately perform a task, but only if it's a work type they're assigned to. Select the colonist, right-click a target (such as a blueprint, object, or pawn) and choose an option from the context menu. If no menu appears, then the colonist can't do anything with that target - try another colonist. Multiple tasks can be chained together by holding the Shift key. Queued jobs are shown on the colonist's inspect pane.


  • For improved efficiency, colonists do cleaning and harvesting in batches.
  • Colonists will only perform work in their allowed area.
    • If an allowed area is made up of two parts, colonists may still traverse the unallowed area to perform tasks in another zone.

Work types[edit]

Note: Within each work-type, there are a number of tasks performed as part of that work type. Tasks with a higher priority value will be prioritized over tasks with a lower value in the same work-type.

Work type Description Relevant skill Category
Firefight Firefighters extinguish fires in the home area. Firefighters can't extinguish fires outside the home area. none none
Patient Patients go to a medical bed to receive treatment for life-threatening health conditions (e.g. a treatable illness). It is not advisable to ever disable this or severely lower the priority.

See the 'bed rest' task to set the priority for non-disease injuries.
none none
Doctor Doctors bandage wounds, treat the sick, and perform operations. Doctors also automatically rescue downed colonists.
Doctors tend to colonists, rescued allies, prisoners and colony animals, but they must be resting in a bed or sleeping spot.
  • Tend to patients with urgent needs. Priority: 110
  • Tend to patients. Priority: 100
  • Tend to self. Priority: 90
  • Feed patients. Priority: 80
  • Operate on humanlikes. Priority: 70
  • Rescue downed allies to bed. Priority: 60
  • Tend to animals. Priority: 50
  • Feed animals (patient animals only). Priority: 40
  • Operate on animals. Priority: 30
  • Take patients to bed for operations. Priority: 20
  • Visit sick people . Priority: 10
Medical Caring

Social (Visiting only)
Bed rest Colonists assigned to bed rest will rest in a bed to heal injuries. This is separate from a colonist's need to sleep to replenish rest. none none
Basic Colonists will complete tasks that are unskilled and easy to complete.

* Note: Even when not assigned to Basic work, colonists can still be directed with right-click to open a container not marked to open.

none none
Warden Wardens feed prisoners, chat with them, and try to recruit them, as chosen by the player. Wardens also carry out prisoner releases and executions.
  • Execute prisoners. Priority: 110
  • Emancipate slaves.Content added by the Ideology DLC Priority: 105
  • Release prisoners. Priority: 100
  • Enslave prisoners.Content added by the Ideology DLC Priority: 95
  • Take prisoners to bed. Priority: 90
  • Feed prisoners. Priority: 80
  • Imprison slaves.Content added by the Ideology DLC Priority: 75
  • Convert prisoners.Content added by the Ideology DLC Priority: 72
  • Deliver food to prisoners. Priority: 70
  • Suppress slaves.Content added by the Ideology DLC Priority: 65
  • Chat with prisoners. Priority: 60
Social none
Handle Handlers tame, train, feed, milk, shear and slaughter tamed animals. Handlers also rescue wounded animals.

Note: Slaughtering animals is a violent act and will not be carried out by pawns incapable of violence.
  • Take roaming animals to pen. Priority: 160
  • Feed sick animals. Priority: 150 (animal patients - sick or injured animals resting in an animal bed or sleeping spot designated as medical)
  • Take to pen. Priority: 130 (presumably this one is for moving animals from a hitching spot to a pen)
  • Slaughter animals. Priority: 100
  • Release to wild. Priority: 100
  • Milk animals. Priority: 90
  • Shear animals. Priority: 85
  • Tame animals. Priority: 80
  • Train animals. Priority: 70
  • Rebalance animals in pens. Priority: 60
Animals Animals
Cook Cooks butcher animals, prepare meals, and brew beer.
  • Cook meals at stove. Priority: 100
  • Cook meals at campfire. Priority: 97
  • Butcher creatures. Priority: 90
  • Fill food hoppers. Priority: 50
  • Brew liquors. Priority: 30
Cooking Skilled labor
Hunt Hunters hunt animals marked for hunting, but will require a ranged weapon to do so (you will be notified via message of colonists with the Hunting job without one). Shooting and Animals Violent
Construct Constructors build things, smooth floors, repair damaged buildings and structures, and fix broken-down equipment with components.
  • Fix broken-down buildings. Priority: 120
  • Uninstall structures. Priority: 110
  • Build roofs. Priority: 100
  • Remove roofs. Priority: 90
  • Construct placed frames. Priority: 80
  • Deliver resources to frames. Priority: 70
  • Deliver resources to blueprints. Priority: 60
  • Deconstruct structures. Priority: 50
  • Repair damaged things. Priority: 40
  • Remove floors. Priority: 30
  • Smooth floors. Priority: 20
  • Smooth walls. Priority: 10
Construction Skilled labor
Grow Growers plant and harvest domestic crops.
  • Harvest crops. Priority: 100
  • Plant seeds. Priority: 80
  • Replant trees. Priority: 60
  • Sow crops. Priority: 50
Plants Skilled labor
Mine Miners dig out marked sections of stone or minerals, as well as operating deep drills.
  • Mine. Priority: 100
  • Drill at deep drill. Priority: 50
Mining Skilled labor
Plant cut Plant cutters harvest food from wild plant and cut down marked plants.
  • Extract trees. Priority: 110
  • Prune Gauranlen trees.Content added by the Ideology DLC Priority: 25
  • Cut plants. Priority: none
Plants Dumb labor
Smith Create weapons and tools from raw materials, either as a blacksmith or by machining. Also repair mechanoids, if the colonist is a mechanitor.Content added by the Biotech DLC Crafting Skilled labor
Tailor Tailors craft clothing at a tailor bench (electric / hand tailor bench). Crafting Skilled labor
Art Artists make sculptures at the art bench. Artistic Artistic
Craft Craftsman do general low-skilled labor at work like stonecutting and smelting. Skilled labor

Intellectual (Drug Synthesis only)

Haulers do a number of things, including:

  • Rearm turrets. Priority: 150
  • Refuel fuelable buildings (Torch lamps, generators, Fueled stoves etc.). Priority: 140
  • Unload carriers. Priority: 130
  • Load caravan. Priority: 120
  • Load transporters. Priority: 110
  • Carry to biosculpter pod.Content added by the Ideology DLC Priority: 109
  • Strip corpses. Priority: 100
  • Haul corpses. Priority: 90
  • Do cremation bills. Priority: 40
  • Do bills at campfire (such as burning drugs). Priority: 30
  • Empty egg boxes. Priority: 20
  • Take beer out of fermenting barrels. Priority: 20
  • Fill fermenting barrels. Priority: 19
  • Haul general things. Priority: 15
  • Deliver resources to frames. Priority: 10
  • Deliver resources to blueprints. Priority: 9
  • Merge things. Priority: 5
none Dumb labor
Clean Cleaners remove filth such as dirt, blood, and vomit, which would otherwise negatively affect the beauty of a room.
  • Clear snow. Priority: 10
  • Clean filth. Priority: 5
none Dumb labor
Research Intellectual Intellectual

Version history[edit]

  • 1.3.3066 - Guests with "AllWork" disabled will no longer opportunistically haul.
  • 1.4.3563 - Fix: "Tend to self" emergency work giver appears below non-emergency work giver on UI.