PHYSICAL WORKING ENVIRONMENT AND ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE
This study was intended to evaluate the physical working environment and organizational performance. This study was guided by the following objectives; to examine the impact of physical working environment on organizational performance. To identify the factors that contributes to good physical working environment in an organization. To determine other factors that enhances organizational performance.The study employed the descriptive and explanatory design; questionnaires in addition to library research were applied in order to collect data. Primary and secondary data sources were used and data was analyzed using the chi-square statistical tool at 5% level of significance which was presented in frequency tables and percentage. The respondents under the study were 50 employees of the coca cola bottling company Lagos.The study findings revealed that there is a significant relationship between physical working environment and organizational performance; based on the findings from the study, efforts should be made by the organizations in improving the working environment as this would help boost organizational performance.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In today’s competitive business environment, organizations can no longer afford to waste the potential of their workforce. There are key factors in the employee’s physical working environment that impact greatly on their level of motivation and performance. The physical working environment that is set in place impacts employee morale, productivity, and engagement - both positively and negatively. It is not just a coincidence that new programs addressing lifestyle changes, work/life balance, health, and fitness - previously not considered key benefits - are now primary considerations of potential employees and common practices among the most admired companies.
The environment is man’s immediate surroundings which he manipulates for his existence. Wrongful manipulation introduces hazards that make the environment unsafe and impede the productivity rate of the worker. Therefore, the workplace entails an environment in which the worker performs his work (Chapins, 1995) while an effective workplace is an environment where results can be achieved as expected by management (Mike, 2010; Shikdar, 2002). The physical working environment affects how employees in an organization interact, perform tasks, and are led. The physical working environment as an aspect of the work environment has directly affected the human sense and subtly changed interpersonal interactions and thus productivity. This is so because the characteristics of a room or a place of meeting for a group have consequences regarding productivity and performance level. The physical workplace environment is the most critical factor in keeping an employee satisfied in today’s business world. Today’s workplace is different, diverse, and constantly changing. The typical employer/employee relationship of old has been turned upside down. Workers are living in a growing economy and have almost limitless job opportunities. This combination of factors has created an environment where the business needs its employees more than the employees need the business (Smith, 2011).
A large number of physical work environment studies have shown that workers/users are satisfied with reference to specific workspace features. These features preference by users are highly significant to their productivity and workspace performance, they are lighting, ventilation rates, access to natural light and acoustic environment (Humphries, 2005; Veitch, Charles, Newsham, Marquardt & Geerts, 2004; Karasek & Theorell, 1990).
Lighting and other factors like ergonomic furniture have been found to have a positive influence on employee's health (Dilani, 2004; Milton, Glencross & Walters, 2000; Veitch & Newsham, 2000) and consequently on productivity. This is so because light has a profound impact on worker’s/people’s physical, physiological and psychological health, and on their overall performance at the workplace. Ambient features in office environments, such as lighting, temperature, the existence of windows, free air movement, etc, suggest that these elements of the physical environment influence employee’s attitudes, behaviors, satisfaction, performance, and productivity (Larsen, Adams, Deal, Kweon & Tyler, 1998).
A closed office floor plan, whether each employee has a separate office of their own or there are a few people in each closed office, allows staff a greater amount of privacy than an open-plan office layout. They have the chance to work in peace and quiet, keeping them focused on the tasks at hand without getting overly distracted by what their colleagues are doing. It offers employees thinking fame or be creative without much interruption (Mwbex, 2010). In the open office plan, noise existence is stressful and demotivating, posses’ high level of distraction and disturbance coupled with low privacy level (Evans & Johnson, 2000).
With technological development, innovative communication methods, virtual reality; e-market improvement, and alternative work patterns, the workplace continues to change rapidly (Challenger, 2000). To accommodate these rapid changes while maintaining or improving outcomes, organizations have increasingly turned to some version of the environment such as open office space (Terricone and Luca, 2002). This type of work environment supports new styles of working and flexible workplaces which offers interpersonal access and ease of communication compared to fully enclosed private offices. This change to open plan office has increased employee’s productivity compared to closed office spaces (Becker, 2002).
Furthermore, it is easier to communicate with someone whom you can see more easily than someone adjacent/distant or separated by objects from you (J’Istvan in Business (2010). The open office creates an egalitarian system with equal working conditions that reduce the distance between employees and improves communication flow (Brennan, Chugh & Kline, 2002, Hedge, 1986, 2000). Noise is one of the leading causes of employees’ distraction, leading to reduced productivity, serious inaccuracies, and increased job-related stress. According to Bruce (2008), the study showed that workplace distractions cut employee productivity by as much as 40%, and increase errors by 27%. Also, Moloney (2011) citing the Loftness study of 2003 confirmed the importance of natural light and air (ventilation) to worker performance. The study showed a 3- 18% gain in productivity in buildings with daylighting systems.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM The physical working environment in a majority of organizations and industries is unsafe and unhealthy. These include poorly designed workstations, unsuitable furniture, lack of ventilation, inappropriate lighting, excessive noise, insufficient safety measures in fire emergencies, and lack of personal protective equipment. People working in such an environment are prone to occupational disease and it impacts on employee’s performance. Thus organizational performance is decreased due to the workplace environment. It is a wide occupational area where the employees are facing serious problems in their workplace like environmental and physical factors. So it will be difficult to provide facilities to increase their performance level.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The following are the objectives of this study:
To examine the impact of the physical working environment on organizational performance. To identify the factors that contribute to the good physical working environment in an organization. To determine other factors that enhance organizational performance.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What is the impact of the physical working environment on organizational performance? What are the factors that contribute to the good physical working environment in an organization? What are the other factors that enhance organizational performance?
1.5 HYPOTHESIS HO: There is no significant relationship between physical working environment and organizational performance. HA: There is a significant relationship between the physical working environment and organizational performance. 1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY The following are the significance of this study:
The result from this study will educate business managers on the relationship between the physical working environment and organizational performance. It will also educate on the factors that contribute to a good physical working environment for the employee to enhance their performance. This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of personality traits on student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY This study will cover the relationship between the physical working environment and organizational performance. LIMITATION OF STUDY Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview). Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted to the research work
REFERENCES Becker, F. (2002). Improving organizational performance by exploiting workplace flexibility. Journal of Faculty Management, 1(2), 154-162. Brennan, A., Chugh, I., & Kline, T. (2002). Traditional versus open office design: A longitudinal field study. Environment and Behaviour, 34(3), 279-299. Bruce. (2008). How much can noise affect your worker’s productivity? Retrieved February 29, 2012, from Challenger, J.A. (2000). 24 Trends reshaping the workplace. The Futurist, 35-41. Chapins, A. (1995). Workplace and the performance of workers.Reston: USA Dilani, A. (2004). Design and health III: Health promotion through environmental design. Stockholm, Sweden: International Academy for Design and Health Evans, G.W., & Johnson, D. (2000). Stress and open-office noise. Journal of Applied Psychology,85(5), 779-783. Hedge, A. (1986). Open versus enclosed workspace: The impact of design on employee reactions to their office: Behavioral issues in office design. NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold. Hedge, A. (2000). Where are we in understanding the effect of where we are? Ergonomics 43(7), 1019-1029. Humphries, M. (2005). Quantifying occupant comfort: Are combined indices of the indoor environment practicable? Building Research and Information,33(4), 317-325. J’Istvan in Business. (2010). Human resource management and environmental effects on communication. Retrieved April 10, 2010, from human-resource-management-and-environmental-effect-on-communication Larsen, L., Adams, J., Deal, B., Kweon, B., & Tyler, E. (1998). Plants in the workplace: The effect of plant density on productivity, attitude, and perceptions. Environment and Behavior, 30(3), 261-281 Milton, D.K., Glencross, P.M. & Walters, M.D. (2000). Risk of sick leave associated with outdoor air supply rate, humidification, and occupant complaints. Indoor Air. 10(4), 212-221. Moloney, Claire. (2011). Workplace productivity and LEED building. Retrieved February 29, 2012, from Murex. C.M. (2010). Closed offices versus open plan layout. Retrieved April 1, 2010, from Mike, A. (2010). Visual workplace: How you see the performance on the planet and in the office. International Journal of Financial Trade,11(3), 250-260. Shikdar, A.A. (2002). Identification of ergonomic issues that affect workers in oilrigs in the desert environment. International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomic, 10(8), 169-177. Smith, D.G. (2011). The work environment is more important to employees. Retrieved November 25, 2011, from Karasek, R., & Theorell, T. (1990). Healthy work: Stress, productivity and the reconstruction of working life. New York: Basic Books. Veitch, J.A., & Newsham, G.R. (2000). Exercised control, lighting choices, and energy use: An office simulation experiment. Journal of Environmental Psychology,20(3), 219-237. Veitch, J.A., Charles, K.E., Newsham, G.R., Marquardt, C.J.G., & Geerts, J. (2004). Workstation characteristics and environmental satisfaction in open-plan offices.COPE Field Findings (NRCC-47629) Ottawa, Canada: National Research Council. Terricone, P., & Luca, I. (2002). Employees, teamwork and social interdependence: A formula for a successful business? Team Performance Management: An International Journal, 8(3/4), 54-55..