Are you struggling to drive employee engagement in your organization? If you answered yes, there could be a variable that you are ignoring – the workplace environment. Ideally, employee engagement is the level of emotional and mental connection an employee feels towards his or her work, the team, and the organization. The workplace environment has an important role in determining the amount of dedication and enthusiasm employees show towards their jobs, who they work with, and the organization in general. Understanding the importance of the workplace environment in driving employee engagement can help you make the necessary adjustments for better results.
So, how does the workplace environment affect employee engagement? To comprehend this better, it is important to start by helping you understand the meaning of the workplace environment.
What is the Workplace Environment?
The workplace environment is a combination of all factors that affect employees’ work in terms of where, how, and when they work. Aspects of the workplace environment include:
The Physical Environment
This entails the size and layout of the workplace, furnishings, and equipment. Do your employees have enough space to get their work done efficiently? Does the office layout promote collaboration and support privacy when required? Are the chairs provided ergonomic? Do workers have the necessary equipment – computers, printers, technology, etc. to complete their tasks?
In addition, the physical environment also encompasses the facilities offered such as breakout areas, gyms, and green spaces. It also takes into account light, temperature, slippery floors, and exposure to noise and harmful chemicals.
This element is related to the terms under which employees have been hired. This includes the salary rate, working hours, and the contract of employment. It can also go further to include factors that affect employee health such as recreational activities, psychological safety, safe use and maintenance of equipment, and balanced meals among others.
This refers to how an organization and its employees operate. It can be defined by employee relationships, leadership approach, company values and goals, approach to work, internal communication, and more.
Now that you understand what makes a workplace environment, let’s look at the role it plays in driving employee engagement. To make this simple, we are going to look at different factors that affect employee engagement and how the workplace environment contributes to each one of them.
1. Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction can be defined as the measure of contentment an employee feels with his or her job. It is majorly based on how employees feel about their roles in the organization. However, while happy and satisfied employees don’t necessarily translate to engaged employees, employee happiness and job satisfaction are essential for employee engagement. When employees like the work they do and are happy with the organization, their connection with the company and their jobs are likely to go a notch higher. So, how can HR and business leaders improve the workplace environment to ensure job satisfaction?
- Offer competitive salaries that allow employees live a quality life
- Offer good and comprehensive employee benefits
- Create schedules that promote a positive work-life balance
- Recognize and reward exemplary employee contributions to the organization regularly
- Assure job security through honest and transparent communication about the long-term viability of the organization and their roles
- Assure career growth by establishing an upward trajectory through offering opportunities for greater responsibilities and higher earnings as well as offering opportunities for career training
- Promoting respect and trust among employees and senior management
2. Health, Wellness, and Safety
Most people are more conscious about their health and general wellness today than ever before. A workplace environment that promotes employee health and wellness is likely to resonate well with the employees. Moreover, when they know that the employer prioritizes their well-being, they are likely to commit to their tasks for the success of the company. How can the workplace environment promote employee health and wellness? You can do this by focusing on these areas:
I. Physical Well-being
There are several ways that your workplace environment helps improve employees’ physical health and enhance safety while carrying out their tasks. They include:
- Prioritize health insurance
- Providing ergonomic setup and standing desks to prevent backaches, neck aches, and other joint pains
- Ensure ample lighting, especially natural light to prevent eye strain and promote health
- Ensure non-slippery floors to prevent falls
- Train employees on the safe use of equipment to avoid injuries
- Offer facilities such as a gym in the workplace
- Give health stipends such as gym memberships and online fitness classes
II. Mental and Social Well-being
In the height of mental health issues happening all around us, HR and business owners need to prioritize mental wellness in the workplace. Employees will value your efforts in taking care of their mental health and are likely to compensate accordingly. Here are some workplace environment improvements that you can do:
- Encourage employees to take breaks by creating breakout areas
- Creating green spaces where employees can relax or use as an alternative workspace
- Allow flexible work schedules where employees can choose how, when, and where to work
- Ensure intentional employee check-ins from the leadership
- Offer counseling, coaching, and self-management programs
- Build a culture of psychological safety where employees can share their thoughts without fear of intimidation through positive work policies and company values
- Support team-building activities to help build a strong community and encourage healthy employee relationships
Promoting employee health and safety in the workplace can entail making changes in the workplace that can be costly. If you don’t have the budget, you can consider moving to a coworking space. You can find shared office spaces in Manhattan, New York, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Tampa, Florida, Seattle, Washington, and San Diego, California among other cities in the United States. Shared office spaces are designed with productivity in mind. It is easy to find one with features that align with your employee wellness goals, eliminating the stress of building one from scratch.
3. Meaning and Purpose at Work
People who find a purpose and meaning in their work are likely to be more interested and connected with what they do. This is because living a meaningful and purposeful life leads to a happy and quality life. If you can attach meaning to the work that your employees do, you will be giving them a reason to feel content with their roles and motivating them to keep giving their all for the success of the organization. You can help your employees find meaning and purpose in their work by showing them how their individual roles fit and contribute to the bigger picture in the organization. Which areas of the workplace environment can you improve in this aspect?
- Internal communication – Ensure a seamless flow of information across the organization to ensure that each individual understands the company goals and expectations, as well as how their work matters in achieving the goals. Clear communication is also important in informing the employees of all the KPIs they have to meet toward the bigger picture.
- Career training and development – Employees need the necessary skills to complete their tasks if they are to find meaning in their work. Career development opportunities, mentoring, and on-the-job training ensure that employees get the latest skills as roles evolve.
- Rewards and recognition – Ensure employees understand the reason behind the rewards and recognitions that they receive. For instance, use the opportunity to show how their work improves the lives of others such as the customers.
Driving employee engagement is one of the most daunting tasks for HR, leaders, and business owners. Yet, it is crucial in driving performance and productivity, which impacts the bottom line and company growth. From what we have seen above, focusing more on the workplace environment to improve areas that lead to job satisfaction, improve employee well-being, and add meaning to employee work can yield better results.
A positive work environment provides job satisfaction and employee well-being. Let’s see how a positive workplace environment drives employee engagement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What creates a positive work environment?
Ans. Some of the factors that help in creating a positive environment at the workplace include:
- Restructuring the onboarding process
- Help employees choose a comfortable work environment
- Regular check-ins
- Encourage team collaboration and communication
- Build a strong workplace culture
- Provide opportunities for learning
Q2. Why is employee well-being important?
Ans. Employee well-being is important because it:
- Improves productivity and performance
- Boosts employee morale
- Helps to attract better talents
- Improves customer relationship management
Q3. How does the physical work environment affect employees?
Ans. Air quality, lighting, and temperature in the workplace are some major factors that affect the productivity of employees. Also, facilities offered by companies such as breakout areas, gyms, and green spaces play important role in improving employee experience.
This article is written by Rachel Eleza.
Rachel Eleza is a marketing director and a writer for different websites. She loves reading and traveling. She is an ambitious woman and a hard-worker. When she’s not writing, she’s usually baking up a storm or trying to find new ways to get inspired.