Work environment is made from two different words, "work" and "environment", and is basically used to refer a workplace where a person or a group of people work for a company, firm, enterprise or either for government. Work environment can be any workplace, which may include a lavish office building for administrative staff of a company, an industrial shed for labourers or a kitchen for cooks and chef, all of these are referred to as work environment. Every employee needs a good working environment which also motivates them to give out best in them. Work environment also includes other factors like co-workers, quality of air, ergonomic seating, management, parking, noise level and even the size of one's cabin or desk place. There are different types of work environment, many attempts have been made by different scholars to classify various kind of work environment in different types, but there has never been any classification that was accepted widely by all enthusiasts. There have been different classifications on the basis of psychological factors, health factors and social factors but one thing common in all these different theories was the final conclusion that matching the right person with right work environment would lead to better performance and work satisfaction as well. Generally work environment can be divided into six main categories:
A realistic work environment can be defined as the one where work is more hands on, while investigative environment can be a work place where a high priority is to be given on thinking and theoretical discussions among the working staff for effective outputs. Enterprising environments would generally involve a self initiative to start and innovate projects. Conventional work environments would be those used set protocols and routines, such as data basing customer information. Artistic environments as the name suggest would be the one related to creativity and the production of works of art. Social types of work environment involve a high degree of interaction, as seen in customer service and teaching where instead of profit social gain is given more importance.
There may be several other approaches also to classify different work environment, like we can also classify on the basis of the work involved, psychology or on the basis of physical surroundings also.
A Good Work Environment
There is a very difficult question about how to exactly define a good work environment? There can be no rules or parameters to define a good work environment. When asked what constitutes a great work environment, most people would mention a lavish workplace in a big building with modern interiors, good relationship with supervisors and coworkers. While these things are important to the hospitality employee, their answer may be more industry specific than for different workers on different kind of jobs. For a person working in field as farm labor cannot expect a desk in an office, as he has his work on field only. Similarly it would be really funny to watch management staff of an MNC having their desk in middle of fields. The idea is that work environment is different for different types of jobs and there cannot be any comparison of work environment between two different jobs.
Gone are those times when candidates use to consider only salary at the time of joining a company or an organization. These days apart from the job scope itself, one factor that is significantly influencing about how employees feel about work is the environment being provided by the employer. Work environment here includes everything that forms part of employees’ involvement with the work itself, such as the relationship with co-workers and supervisors, organizational culture, room for personal development, café, furniture etc. A positive work environment is something that makes employees feel good about coming to work every day, and also motivates them constantly to sustain them throughout the day and give their best effort.
An effective way to ensure a positive work environment is to motivate employees for a correct behavioral approach. A good behavior also determines good and peaceful environment. Another way out is to ensure healthy relation among staff is by some effective socialization, hence communication is vital. Also management should be aware about what staff is not happy with; keeping an eye on staff interaction doesn't need to be time consuming for the management team, they only needs to observe body language and listen for negative verbal clues to become aware of any problem and quickly try to fix it as soon as possible. The staff often takes its cue from the behavior of the management team. Management always should be aware of the power of their behavior and always maintain dignity. Negative behavior will breed less than positive actions in the staff.
Another very important feature that makes a great work environment in a company is the way it shows appreciation to an outstanding employee with a sought after promotion. Workers when they know they have a clear opportunity for advancement are more likely to stay in the company work hard and provide years of excellent service which is obviously very useful for the firm. When they know they are valued employees tend to return the favor by being the best at their job. An incredible work environment is a place that promises to advance gifted employees and makes good on that promise.
How to Create a Positive Work Environment and advantages
Transparent & Open Communication:
In order to create a positive work environment each employee needs to feel valued. For a healthy employee-employer relationship there is an important need for an open and transparent communication among them. A transparent and open form of communication addresses the employee’s need to feel that what they have to say has value and is being listened. It is what makes employees feel that they are part of organization and they are being valued there. Work only becomes meaningful when the employees know, that what they contribute affects the organization that they are affiliated with.
One important aspect of communicating openly is to meet with the staff and discuss about organization's philosophy, values, mission and goals. It is better to ask employees for their ideas and thoughts on how they individually and as a team can help achieving various organizational goals. After the staff has shared their ideas, the management can share their own vision of how they see everyone working together. Management should share a feeling that everyone is working together as a circle in which everyone is equal and on the same level, rather than a pyramid where the administrators are at the top, and the staff is at the bottom creating a sense of difference attitude. Everyone is equal because every job is equally important in fulfilling the vision and mission of the organization. They can also share work ethic, commitment to the job and facility, and values.
It is thus essential to discuss the organization’s philosophy, mission and values; from time to time during various meetings to ensure that everyone knows what they’re working for other than their salary and they are part of goodwill work force of a company. Having open discussions and getting employees involved by allowing them to share their views and perspectives on how to achieve company goals and later the management side giving their own perspectives on how to fulfill the organization’s mission tends to create a clear work relation where everyone has precise knowledge of how to proceed and a feeling of trust.
It is very important to build trust for a proper and smooth working of an organization. Employer should have trust on his employees that whatever they do will be for the goodwill of the organization and employees should also trust that the organization is committed to give them best possible career, salary and workplace to their employees. Trust is the basic foundation for all relationships, so building an environment of trust is one of the most important things that can be done to create a positive work environment. Trust is all about doing what you say you are going to do and being who you say you are. It's about showing your staff and making them believe that in everything they do they are reliable, responsible and accountable, and that they can rely on you for consistency. When your words and behavior are congruent you foster trust. Trust cannot be gained in one day; it will take some time for your staff members to learn that the employer is a person of his word. If the employer sticks to his word he generally gains trust, but if actions do not match the words, employees start to lose their faith thus leading to an environment of mistrust and hence lack of work spirit. Hence an effective work environment includes a trust level among the both.
Training & Development:
Ever-growing modernization is day by day creating demand for new products and services, hence at time when change is more rampant than ever before, it is necessary for organizations to be keep at-par with the changes and regularly train their employees according to the demand and needs. Adapting to change is very crucial as those who don’t get replaced by the others as there is so much competition today. This applies to both the individual and the organization itself. Hence it is advisable to be in pace and regular training and development becomes a part of work environment. A training and development-focused organization has a very clear roadmap for training their employees to sustain and enhance the productivity of the organization as a whole and to be at-par with competitors. There can be two kinds of skills that can be developed:
Hard skills are those which impact work productivity directly e.g. knowledge of a new database management system. These skills are no related to any kind of production, but these are related to official matters in the terms of planning and control like payments, order taking, financing and promoting etc.
Soft skills are those which can be utilized directly in production activities. Soft skill may include anything which may be related to provide a service or in production like operating a machine or learning about developing software are both included in soft skills.
A positive work environment includes routine training programs to improve efficiency of the employees and instill positive attitudes among employees towards their work.
As social beings, humans naturally seek support from peers and there is a very important need to belong to a group for being someone to effect. Team is something that comes together to deal with whatever problems are out there. A sense of unity is evoked in the team member at the time of problem and employees will no longer just feel that they’re working for themselves.
One of the basic human qualities is that when we belong to something bigger than ourselves we tend to have an energetic feeling to do something big, and for many people that need is met by being part of a supportive work group. Most important part of management part job is to create a feeling of unity among the staff. This unity will help team members feel valued and that they belong. As a result they will want to be at work, tardiness and absenteeism will be minimal, team will function smoothly, employees may interact with each other and also help out if anyone is facing problem doing their work or need some guidance or support and unit will be better able to carry out the missions and goals of the organization.
Rewards and surprises always excite human beings. When working hard everyone expects some added bonus with that. Rewards are necessary to encourage certain behaviors in employees. It is used in organizational behavior management as well: by rewarding employees who put in effort for their work, this will promote similar behaviors in the future. By rewarding a hard worker you actually promote the hard work spirit in other people also, and in turn everyone tries to raise their efficiency in order to be the one who gets appreciated.