Is Your Work Environment Conducive or Constraining?

environment

Is your work environment Conducive or Constraining?

Many people think that as long as you have some kind of flat surface to place your computer on and a chair to sit on while you work, your work environment is sufficiently conducive for you to effectively perform your work duties. Many studies have now proven that this is a gross oversimplification.  The correct office design is not only a health and safety requirement, but it also contributes to excellent work performance. Here are some of the factors that you may want to consider for your work environment design:

  • Employee demographics

Understanding who your employees are might give you some insight into their unique needs.  You can then create an environment which will enable them to provide you with their best. Do your employees have small children that could benefit from an onsite daycare centre for example? This also applies to any special needs that your employees may have with respect to their language proficiency or disabilities.

  • Location

Consider the impact of where your workplace is located. If you are in a remote area far away from banks and shops, your staff may benefit from having an onsite canteen.  Access to the internet to buy electricity, airtime and make payments make life easier.

  • Design for wellness and balance

Does your workspace encourage a healthy lifestyle? Hand sanitation stations, health-related education (posters and reading material) are a must.  Healthy snack options can be considered. Employing an on-site nurse and close proximity to an affordable gym encourages a focus on health. Some of these would require an investment from the company. Nevertheless, the return on investment from reduced absenteeism rates may make a solid business case.

  • Creating the right atmosphere

As you design the different areas of your workplace, consider what each area will be utilized for. In places where people will really need to focus, you may need to consider limiting noise levels. This can influence your decision regarding open plan office areas. Where confidential information will be stored, accessed or discussed, you may need to consider privacy. People need areas for creative work.  You may want to make it colourful and playful with lots of distractions that could stimulate creative ideas. Spaces where people need to be able to relax and de-stress, you will potentially use a very different type of chair than where you want to create discomfort to encourage people to move on quickly.

  • Creating opportunities for interaction and team building

Make sure you create spaces where people will interact and build relationships. Informal meeting areas where people accidentally end up at the same table is a good idea.  Places, where conversations can be started, will be beneficial.  Areas like a shared water cooler, shared printer and whilst making coffee, are excellent ideas.

  • Communication

Are there specific areas that you could utilize for communication purposes? A communication board placed strategically where everyone has to pass at least once a day would be ideal.  Boards could be used for important announcements.  Notices which recognize employees for going the extra mile.

  • Cultivating positivity

Is your environment one which encourages a positive mindset and attitude? Maybe you would want to put up a blackboard where people can write down the things that they are grateful for. A bookcase filled with inspirational books in the canteen will provide people with easy access to positive encouragement on days that they need it most. Even having a pack of cards, a puzzle and some board games available may create an opportunity for sometimes well-needed fun and laughter.

  • Learning

Create an environment that not only encourages but also provides the opportunity for continuous learning. Give people the opportunity to share their knowledge and talents, learn new skills and acquire new knowledge. Providing access to information is a key principle in this regard.

Most importantly, make sure that your workspace is in line with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. To comply with this, ensure that there is enough space for your number of employees, make sure they can easily all make use of the provided amenities – especially when they all share the same break time.

Designing the most appropriate workspace is a worthwhile investment in your business success. Make sure that yours is conducive to achieving your business goals and does not constrain your employees from contributing to their full potential.

Su-Mari du Bruyn

Su-Mari du Bruyn

All businesses face continuous changes in the business environment. Long term business sustainability is directly linked to the ability to continuously improve and Adapt To Change. Along with globalization came increased competitiveness and in today’s economic circumstances one of the biggest pressures most businesses face, is financial pressure –the pressure to maintain or improve business results in the midst of increasing competitive forces. The downfall of many businesses lies in their attempt to address these pressures with strategies that proved successful in the past…in an environment that today no longer exists. The world is significantly different today and today flexibility and innovation are almost synonymous with business sustainability.With more than 50 years’ experience, the continuous improvement and supply chain experts at Adapt To Change are making businesses better! Adapt To Change is dedicated to transform, optimize and empower organizations and the individuals that work within them.
Su-Mari du Bruyn
  Our very latest Q & A with Su-Mari Du Bruyn! Su-Mari Du Bruyn is co-founder of the company Adapt To Change. She is a qualified HR practitioner and logistics specialist and is passionate about Continuous Improvement and people development. Through Adapt To Change, she assists businesses to improve their business performance and better engage their staff.She believes that all individuals should have a healthy, stimulating and gratifying work environment and that is why she has dedicated her life to transforming, optimize and empower organizations and the individuals that work within them.. Q & A With Su-Mari Du Bruyn - People Development NetworkQ.   What Do You Do? Adapt To Change's business enhancement specialists assists businesses to improve their financial performance and be more competitive.  Long term business sustainability is directly linked to the ability to continuously improve and Adapt To Change. In today’s economic circumstances, one of the biggest pressures most businesses face is the pressure to maintain or improve business results in the midst of increasing competitive forces. The continuous improvement and supply chain experts at Adapt To Change can assist through a wide range of services, including business and management consulting, training or by assisting clients to align business strategy with execution and performance management. We are dedicated to transforming, optimize and empower organizations and the individuals that work within them. Q.   Who can most benefit from the work you do? We focus on assisting organizations with between 10 and 150 employees in either the manufacturing or services sectors. Q.   What excites you about what you do? I am passionate about Continuous Improvement and people development and in this line of work I get to contribute to both! My wish is for all individuals to have a healthy, stimulating and gratifying work environment and that is why I have dedicated my life to transform, optimize and empower organizations and the individuals that work within them. Q.   What are you most proud of achieving? Building Adapt To Change from scratch with my two amazing business partners and writing and publishing my first book The Power To Ignite. Q.    Who is the biggest inspiration in your life and why? My parents. They have instilled in me a positive can do attitude. Just looking at what they have accomplished and overcome is a wonderful example that I admire. I am extremely grateful for their love and support. Q.    What is your favorite leadership or people development book and why? The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is an amazing, easy to read the story that teaches valuable life lessons. A very close second would be The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, which shares real life lessons about making your own dreams come true and enabling the dreams of others. Q.   What is the most important piece of business advice you can give our readers? Never ever forget that you are working with real human beings. It may sound ludicrous, but most things in businesses go wrong when the people in charge of the organization lose sight of this important truth. And never ever stop learning and evolving! Knowledge not applied, is wasted. Thank You, Su-Mari!   

Leave a Reply