With all the time you spend on the job, it’s important that your working conditions be healthy, happy and at least somewhat harmonious. After all, you may spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your family. If working conditions are poor, the workers and the company alike are going to suffer the consequences. You’ll see more employees calling in sick, higher turnover rates and ultimately, lower production.
Many factors can lead to stress at work – and anyone working under consistent stress is not going to give the job high marks for good working conditions. When there aren’t enough people to get the job done and yet deadlines remain the same, workers get stressed. Constant turnover and a stream of new faces that need training create stress. Not having sufficient tools and resources to effectively complete a job creates stress, and then all that stress begets even more stress until something -- usually an employee or two -- blows up.
Employees can put up with a lot when they are being paid sufficiently. A few extra days off, a little bonus at the end of the month and morning bagels can go a long way to create good working conditions despite a stream of layoffs or a reduction in the workforce. Workers tend to overlook the lack of resources, demanding bosses and irritating coworkers when they are rewarded well and given a slew of perks for their troubles.
Good working conditions also mean that you don’t have to worry about merchandise falling down from the shelves or chemicals being released in the air while you’re on the job. Creating a safe environment by giving workers safety goggles, hardhats and ergonomic chairs is one of the tenets of a workplace that provides good conditions for the staff. To maintain a safe environment, employees also need to have a way to report unsafe practices and a chain of command that listens to complaints and acts on legitimate concerns.
Sure, it’s important to have a safe, stress-free workplace to create a good working environment. But the people you have to work beside day after day also play a role in how you’re going to feel about those work conditions. A workplace free of harassment is not only required legally, but it also represents a culture that takes care of its employees. Managers who place employees who work well together on teams can help to create those good working conditions, too. When you have to work closely with someone who annoys you to no end, it can really put a dent in your morale and your productivity. Companies that encourage positive relationship-building among its teams usually end up with a pretty loyal, dedicated and hard-working group of workers who appreciate the conditions under which they work every day.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."