put/set somebody to work
put (one) to work
To give one a particular task to do. We're here to help, so just put us to work wherever you need us. Whenever I come home for a visit, my mom wastes no time putting me to work—last time, I had to vacuum the whole house!
set someone or something to work
to start someone or something working; to cause someone or something to begin functioning. The captain set everyone to work repairing the tears in the fabric of the sails. We will set the machines to work at the regular time.
set to work (on someone or something)
to begin working on someone or something. We have finished questioning Tom, so we will set to work on Fred. We set to work on dinner at noon.