Creating an ideal working environment may not seem like a big deal to everyday employees, but it's a big concern for managers. If working conditions aren't on the manager's mind, they should be. People work better and produce more when conditions are right for their performance.
Physical vs. Cultural Environment
When you hear the term "work environment," two meanings should come to mind. One meaning is the physical environment where you work, including your workspace and common work areas shared with others. A second meaning concerns your workplace culture. You work with other people -- a boss and co-workers -- and your relationships with them affect your productivity. If you enjoy your work, feel as though you're making an important contribution to the organization and get along with most people, it's easier to perform your duties.
Work environments vary by profession and by organization. When you're considering a new job, use the job interview and the facility tour as opportunities to determine if a potential work environment is right for you. This is only the beginning. Your work environment could change at any time because people, equipment and other physical arrangements could be shifted to or from your work area. Also, you might have to move to a different work environment. Ensure you've got all tools needed to perform your job and enough space to work productively. You should feel comfortable in your physical space, without going overboard on comfort, to get work done. If there are barriers to productivity that can be changed, especially without any cost to the employer, discuss them with your boss. For example, you might ask to be switched to a room with a cooler temperature or a private office where you can close the door and not be distracted by noisy co-workers.
It makes sense that employees perform better when they are happy in their jobs and working in a positive and productive setting. Subtle things can be done that cost little to ensure employees are happy and motivated to perform. For example, using better communication strategies, including sharing information and listening to employee feedback, help employees know more about their jobs and what changes are coming in the organization. Managers can also focus on giving employees more control over their work, such as giving people the ability to choose their tasks and flexibility in demonstrating how they have completed those tasks. Also, managers can give employees more recognition for positive contributions to the organization, both spontaneously when employees work doubly hard and through regular recognition programs.
Energy and Inspiration
People also want to feel inspired along with liking their co-workers and feeling competent at their jobs.The "Harvard Business Review" reports on a 2012 Towers-Watson Global Workforce Study showing a linkage between what employees feel about their work and how they perform at work. Employers can invest more time in promoting the "physical, emotional, and social well-being" of employees, especially through employee wellness programs. If it seems trivial that your employer just offered you a free or discounted membership to a nearby workout gym and massage therapists now come to give massages to the staff every Friday afternoon, think again. Your employer obviously recognizes that your happiness and healthiness will help you perform better. If you enjoy the side benefits of your job, like what you do, and have a friendly workplace culture, you'll be more likely to stay on as a worker for the long haul, which is good for business.
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