Creating Quality Work Environments

Article excerpt

Knowing how management skills are related is the key to a productive workplace. Two such skills, building a sense of teamwork and creating an appropriate environment, are more closely related than many managers realize. To build teamwork, a manager should develop employee relationships and shape work environments so that they are conducive to productivity.

Physical work environments. Creating quality work environments involves managing both physical and psychological aspects. The quality of a physical work environment is easily noticeable. It affects the morale of employees and the perceptions of customers. By using common sense and encouraging employees to care about their surroundings, managers can improve efficiency.

Organization and order should be the watchwords of a customer-oriented workplace. To avoid chaos, everything and everybody should be in the most logical and functional arrangement. Information, supplies, and resources must be identified, grouped, or even color-coded. The location of each object should allow easy and efficient use and retrieval. Storage space should be adequate and orderly. Documentation must be clear and concise for future reference.

To ensure efficiency, supplies and resources should be sufficient and available. Equipment must be appropriate and in working order. Valuable items should be secured and damaged items replaced promptly.

All company employees should be proud of the general appearance of the workplace. Cleanliness and neatness counts in both employee attitude and customer opinion. A regular system of daily and weekly cleaning should be in place with thorough cleaning conducted twice yearly.

The physical work environment should be comfortable and maximize productivity. At a minimum, space should not be too cramped, chairs should be solid, and temperature controlled. Areas can serve more than one purpose. Managers should choose furniture that is as versatile as possible. The entire workplace, including parking lots and grounds, should be convenient and safe.

Motivational posters, inspirational sayings, employee awards, and company pictures should all be displayed for maximum impact. Bulletin boards in public areas can be effective morale boosters if they have room for continuing education or training opportunities, memos about employee outings, and appropriate humor. Memorabilia and other items can be displayed to enhance the nature of the business and its image.

Basic safety measures are essential to team building. Employees cannot work effectively if they are worried about their personal safety. Lighting should be adequate. Desks, doors, and windows should be equipped with locks. Managers must clearly mark entrances and exits, ensure that hallways are unobstructed, and that fire extinguishers and first-aid kits are strategically located. Emergency plans should be prepared and practiced. If all potential safety hazards are quickly corrected, employees will be able to concentrate on their work.

Psychological work environments. The quality of a psychological work environment may not be as noticeable as the physical one, but it is just as important. If an employee feels at ease, confidence and efficiency result. Managers can operate more successfully by enhancing a positive emotional environment. Managers should apply the appropriate level of supervision for each employee corresponding with individual levels of competence and motivation. Drawing employees into decisions and making them responsible for results establishes a pattern of accountability. Managers can also involve employees in meaningful projects and reward a quality job with increased responsibility.

Policy should reflect what employees management. Being reliable consistent regardless of situation, respecting all employees, and admitting mistakes are all responsibilities of the manager. …