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The work environment: what is it and how can you improve it? 

The work environment is a key factor in a company’s success. A positive workplace atmosphere helps employees perform better in their work, which in turn boosts business productivity. 

 

In this article we will explain what it is, why it is important for organisations, the different types there are and how to evaluate it. As well as some tips on how you can create a durable, beneficial work environment. 

 

 

What is the work environment? 

 

The work environment is the way workers perceive their experience at the company. This feeling is influenced by both internal factors (employee characteristics) and external (company actions). 

 

The concept also refers to the emotional state of the people within the organisation, which impacts directly on business results. 

 

 

Key statistics on work environments 

 

The work environment is one of those intangible values that companies need to pay attention to most. However, it is an aspect that can on occasion be neglected, often because companies are unsure how to evaluate it.  

 

Various studies have confirmed that a good work environment influences business productivity and employee perception of the company. In fact, 40% of employees felt this indicator was the most relevant for their organisation, according to a survey carried out by the company Alares. 

 

Having a good workplace atmosphere also has an impact on specific factors such as:

 

  • Employment searches: according to data from Randstad’s Employer Branding report (2019), 47% of candidates prefer to look for work at companies that offer a pleasant work environment.
  • Sense of belonging: a strong sense of belonging among workers can reinforce the employer brand, as shown by a multinational study on the creation of the Redalyc employer brand (2014).
  • Financial and work-life balance: two aspects most valued by employees as part of a suitable work environment are good financial rewards and the ability to balance work with home life, according to the IMEA survey by Alares. 
  • Productivity: a flexible working environment in which employees feel understood by the company has a very positive effect on productivity. A report by Condeco found that 64% of managers from different companies on a global level confirmed this fact. 
  • Professional and personal development: having a good work environment boosts growth and development, both in a professional and personal context, enabling employees to achieve their maximum potential. In fact, according to a report by the company Gallup, 70% of US workers don’t do their best because they don’t work in a conducive environment. 

 

 

The importance of a good work environment 

 

As we have seen, maintaining and nurturing a positive work environment has multiple benefits. Some highlights include relationships between workers and bosses, helping to establish a solid and trusting rapport. It also generates a sense of belonging to the organisation, as people can identify with the company, which generates resilience in both directions. Moreover, it reduces the likelihood of work problems such as job absenteeism and staff turnover. 

 

While, on the other hand, working in a pleasant and welcoming environment increases creativity, in contrast, working amid conflicts in an uncomfortable atmosphere creates mental blocks and lower productivity. 

 

 

Work environment goals 

 

If companies do not satisfy employee expectations, they will often change jobs or simply resign. It is therefore important to fulfil the following objectives to retain talent and motivate workers. 

 

  • Improve the feelings or perceptions a worker has about the company.
  • Promote communication between members of the company through dialogue, respect, and positivity.
  • Improve trust between work teams to make them feel motivated.
  • Increase staff satisfaction through engagement with the company and recognition of achievements. 
  • Improve professional and personal development for employees.
  • Boost work productivity

 

 

Types of work environment  

 

Below, we’ll tell you about the different types of work environments that exist. In most companies, one of these four types of work environment will predominate. 

 

 

1.    Authoritarian 

 

This type of work environment occurs when the management does not trust the workers, and employees, for the most part, work in a culture of fear. Furthermore, communication is limited to instructions rather than trying to improve or boost employee skills. 

 

 

2. Paternalistic authoritarian 

 

Although there is a degree of confidence between superiors and their employees, this type of environment juggles two social needs: it uses reward and punishment methods to manage employees.

 

 

3. Consultative 

 

Decisions are taken by the management together with employees (at lower levels). There is trust, although ultimately rewards and punishments are still used. It usually happens in a dynamic environment because there is interaction between both parties.

 

 

4. Participative 

 

There is full confidence between management and employees. As a result, decision-making happens on all levels. Management and employees form a team to achieve the goals established during strategic planning. 

 

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How to evaluate a company work environment

 

The work environment depends greatly on the level of staff satisfaction. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the work environment to understand the situation and introduce improvements. There are two main tools to find this out:

 

  • Employee Net Promoter Score: one indicator used to assess the work environment is the eNPS or Employee Net Promoter Score which calculates employee loyalty and the likelihood of them recommending your company as a good place to work. It is also a reflection of the relationships between colleagues, the sense of belonging or engagement with the brand, equal opportunities, and professional growth.  
  • Staff satisfaction surveys: one of the most well-known and effective tools is the staff satisfaction survey, which measures the level of employee satisfaction and eNPS among other aspects. You can do this manually or by means of employee survey software.

 

Implementing these tools manually can be tricky, as there can be problems with designing the survey or analysing the data. Software, therefore, is a good way to automate this process, make it agile and simple, and avoid contradictions. 

 

 

6 tips to improve a company’s work environment 

 

Employee engagement is determined by their degree of satisfaction with the company and its management. This level of motivation has a direct influence on the work environment, as how the employees feel will impact directly on the way they work. 

 

Therefore, the organisation’s behaviour has a significant effect on the work environment and team’s productivity, as business results are largely dependent on the relationship established between employees and the company.

 

To improve the work environment, follow these easy tips. They don’t take much time, just a little bit of effort to promote a close, pleasant environment:

 

 

1. Recognise and praise employees 

 

Recognising work well done by employees is a good habit to get into. In this way, you will keep them motivated to strive towards their goals. In addition, we recommend praising achievements publicly as well as privately, so they feel valued. 

 

 

2. Promote employee wellbeing 

 

Promoting a cooperative work environment will go towards creating a dynamic and positive workplace. For example, aspects such as supporting employees’ work-life balance with specific, effective policies will help to create an encouraging work environment. 

 

 

3. Staff satisfaction surveys and performance reviews 

 

As we mentioned before, carrying out regular anonymous surveys with your employees is a way to find out their thoughts about certain aspects and their level of satisfaction. On the other hand, providing feedback sessions and doing periodic performance reviews is key to boosting employee skills and identifying any difficulties they are having in carrying out their work. 

 

You can do these sessions on paper or by using software, which will allow you to track your teams’ competencies digitally and automatically. 

 

 

4. Leadership capacity 

 

A good leader will take responsibility for keeping their team motivated to ensure new successes on a regular basis. They should convey fundamental team values such as empathy, proactive debates, respect, and collaboration between workers. 

 


5.  Be clear and transparent 

 

Transparency and clarity influence strategic planning in terms of material resources as well as work-life balance and job flexibility. In this case, you should ideally consider each worker’s individual circumstances, as they should not be detached from their professional performance. For example, if an employee is going through a difficult period at home, this needs to be taken into account so the company can support them. 

 

 

6. Pay attention to communications

 

It is important for the company to use digital resources to send communications to employees. However, they should also establish face-to-face communication with workers, always based on respect and dialogue, to discuss mistakes or achievements. In the end, it is a case of improving your company’s internal communication, which HR software can help you with, above all with its ability to send group messages to employees. 

 

If you want to see how Kenjo can help improve your organisation’s work environment, you can arrange a personal demo with our team of HR experts that can offer you solutions adapted to your needs.  

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