The mantra for corporate today is engaging employees and fostering them. The focus is increasing on the overall development of the employees. It’s clearer than ever that happy employees are the most effective and the most productive. Employers are now more focused on providing a conducive office environment to their employees and as a natural consequence, impact follows. Over the years several studies have been conducted by various organizations and HR consulting companies to study the relation between the office environment and employee productivity. More or less all of them seem to corroborate a direct relation between these two. A case in point is a 2001 study by Dale and Schroeder in the Managerial Auditing Journal that showed that employees who were more satisfied with their physical environment while at work were statistically more likely to produce better work outcomes.
If the employees are unhappy about anything around them their productivity decreases. An employee spends the major portion of the day working in the office hence it becomes even vital to provide a supportive and healthy environment.
Factors Affecting Employee Performance
There are numerous workplace factors that contribute to job satisfaction. Some of these reasons may appear to be trivial but they are important. When employees are spending 8-10 hours on the job; they deserve to be given a comfortable environment. Here are some of the factors that affect the employee’s performance:
- Lighting : Improper and insufficient lighting causes irritation in the long run and causes eyesight problems. The office space should be properly lit with a good balance between natural and artificial lighting.
- Furniture : Imagine spending 8-10 hours sitting on a chair that gives you all sorts of back, shoulder and neck aches? Nobody wants that. The office space should provide comfortable seating, desks, and work areas that are designed to be functional as well as comfortable.
- Amenities : This is a long list and some of the items on this list have recently moved from the luxury list to the essential list only recently. Among the hurdles while recruiting and retaining female employees is the proper provision of restrooms. This is a most basic need yet many companies tend to overlook this. A well-maintained first-aid box, a comprehensive security system, and an up-to-date fire safety plan are all key now. There are other amenities that matter too –the provision of clean drinking water, a functional pantry area, and, for larger workplaces, a cafeteria or canteen is important. Besides this, many offices today provide a recreational room as it is important for the employees to be able to unwind and de-stress if their jobs are strenuous or stressful.
- Friendly Workforce : The most important factor is the people around. Nobody wants to work in a hostile environment. The employees should be encouraged to maintain a healthy and competitive environment and provided the space to do so.
- Collaborative Spaces : There are only a few tasks that can be accomplished in isolation in any business –the vast majority of them call for collaborative effort. Does your office allow that collaboration? Do you have enough meeting rooms to accommodate these teams that need to work together? In this age of distributed teams, are those meeting rooms equipped with the fundamental communications infrastructure like phone or video conferencing equipment? This is the day of Agile teams that synch up in their daily stand up meetings. Does your office allow for space for them to do that without disturbing others around them? And, of course, when needed is it possible for individuals to slip into their own shell of concentration to work against their tight deadlines? This is also a key criterion -an Oxford Economics survey revealed that the top work environment related concern of employees was to be provided the ability to focus and work without interruptions.
The employer needs to provide a healthy office environment so the team members can be satisfied while hard at work on their jobs. The office environment should be nurturing and motivating for the employees to deliver and contribute to the fullest of their abilities. This is a critical, if somewhat neglected, aspect of driving up employee engagement and productivity. Is it on your radar?