Tips for Improving Your Office Environment
Experts cite many factors that go into making a desirable and efficient office environment. Things like proper lighting, ergonomic furniture and well-maintained equipment go a long way toward improving workers’ attitudes about their jobs. The most important factor, however, is probably those workers’ attitudes themselves. History is rife with examples of people who overcame poor physical conditions, rise above their poor environment and go on to accomplish great things. The commonality of these events is usually related to the high moral fiber of the individuals in question. The old saying, “you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear” seems especially true when discussing office dynamics. Improving your office environment will most likely come down to selecting high-caliber people to work in it and managing them properly.
Choosing the right individuals for your office environment is usually a unique procedure for every different situation. Group dynamics is a difficult science to master. The introduction of one toxic person into a group of amiable co-workers could have unpredictable results. The other co-workers could shun the toxic person in an attempt to curtail the negative influence on the office atmosphere. Or, sometimes, the toxic individual can poison the positive attitudes of everyone else one by one. Finding the right mix of people is probably one of the most difficult tasks of the hiring manager. Keeping a close eye on the team dynamics means staying abreast of how each individual team member interacts with everyone else and the group as a whole.
One potentially harmful practice that can be detrimental to the office environment is setting up unhealthy competitions among the team members. Healthy, good-natured competition can be a great morale booster. However, when handled incorrectly, it can quickly deteriorate into dysfunctional undercutting and generally counterproductive behavior. The normal and usually minimal feelings of insecurity that people carry with them as they grow into adulthood can sometimes be magnified into monstrous proportions by a poor work environment.
Managers and team leaders should be able to create desirable working conditions by striving to make workers feel comfortable and respected. Knowing that their input is needed and desired from management can help individuals feel more confident when expressing opinions and ideas about how to improve company policies and procedures. When office workers are pitted against each other by abusive bosses, they can sometimes act out in very negative ways. The results of this type of situation are rarely good for company productivity and the overall happiness quotient.
Maintaining a healthy working environment can be more a factor of working with individual personalities than things like comfortable chairs. By considering the human element, managers may be able to work wonders in just about any physical space.