Implication Of Work Environment On Employees Performance ( A Casestudy Of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-iwoye, Ogun State)

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CHAPTER ONE

1.1         BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The type of work environment in which employees operate determines their level of performance. According to Akinyele (2010), about 80% of performance problems reside in the work environment of organizations. Business is full of risks and uncertainties and the ability of any organization to respond successfully to the challenges posed by the present dynamic nature of economic situations will largely depend on how well the organization can effectively and efficiently utilize the human resources at its disposal. It is a generally accepted fact that the success of any business organization will largely depend upon the effective and meaningful utilization of its financial and physical resources. The performance of a corporate organization, which determines its survival and growth, depends to a large extent on the performance of its workforce.

Yesufu (2000) asserted that the wealth of the nation as well as socio-economic well-being of its people depends on the effectiveness and efficiency of its various sub-components. However, labour is generally regarded as the most dynamic of all the factors that are employed for the creation of wealth, having the potential to energize and serve as catalyst to all the other resources. Conducive work environment ensures the well-being of employees which invariably will enable them exert themselves to their roles with all vigour that may translate to higher performance (Akinyele, 2007). Employees have attitudes about many aspects of their jobs, their careers, and their organizations; however,

the most focal employee attitude is job satisfaction. Looking at a group of people performing the same job for some time, we cannot but observe that some people do it better than the others. One will want to know the factors that account for these differences in performance. One factor is that the differences reflect varying degree of skills or abilities displayed by individual employees, while the other factor is motivation. Motivation on the other hand simply refers to the urges, aspiration, drives and needs of human beings that direct, control or explain their behavior.

 

In employment, two parties are involved, which are their skills, and the other part with their money. The imbalance of this therefore could result in job dissatisfaction which may lead to resignation and low performance of some employees. The issue of job satisfaction has been a great concern and has led employers of labours to devise way of selecting the best people for any given job. There is the belief that the best way for an organization to efficiently and effectively achieve the organizational goals is to place the best people on the jobs. Performance is thus of fundamental importance to the individual worker of whatever status, to the organization whether commercial or not and to the national economy at large and accordingly therefore, to the upliftment of the welfare of the citizens (Yesufu, 2000; Akinyele, 2007).

 

Brenner (2004) asserted that the ability of employees within an organization to share knowledge throughout the system depends on the conditions of their work environment. Some employees tend to be more productive in a well facilitated work environment. More so, the quality of comfort variable from work environment determines the level of satisfaction and performance of employees. Employees‟ performance cannot be optimal, if the conditions of work environment are not favourable. Improved work environment enhances employees‟ performance. This study is premised on the fact that both management and employees of organizations are less considerate of work environment as having a great influence on performance of employees as resulting from employees negative attitude to work while the employees view of low performance may stem from poor pay system, absence of fringe benefits, inappropriate leadership style, wrong job location, unfavourable organizational policies among others.

 

The work environment of any organization or institution generally comprises three sub-environments. These are technical, human and organizational environments. Technical environment comprises tools, equipment, infra-structure and other technical elements; the human environment comprises peers, and colleagues with whom employees relate, team and work group, interactions, the leadership and management, while organizational environment, on the other hand, includes systems, procedures, practices, values and philosophies (Opperman, 2002). Work environment of an organization can also be categorized into internal and external work environment. The totality of these environments has influence on the job performance of employees. Since most people spend fifty percent of their lives within indoor environments, which greatly influence their mental status, actions, abilities and performance (Sundstrom, 1994). Better outcomes and increased performance is assumed to be the result of better workplaceenvironment. Better physical environment of office will boosts the employees and ultimately improve their performance. Various literatures pertaining to the study of multiple offices and office buildings indicated that the factors such as dissatisfaction, cluttered workplaces and the physical environment are playing a major role in the loss of employees‟ performance (Carnevale 1992, Clements-Croome 1997).

 

Hughes (2007) surveyed 2000 employees pertain to various organizations and industries in multiple levels. The reported results of these survey showed that nine out of ten believed that a workspace quality affects the attitude of employees and increases their performance. Employees in different organizations have different office designs. Every office has unique furniture and spatial arrangements, lighting and heating arrangements and different levels of noise. The purpose of this study is to analyze the impact of work environment on employees‟ performance. Job performance, according to Johari and Yahya (2009), has become one of the significant indicators in managing organizational productivity. They opined that a growing emphasis has been given on employee‟s job performance as a source of competitive advantage to promote responsiveness in enhancing overall organizational effectiveness. It is the quality of the employee‟s workplace environment that most impacts on the level of employee‟s motivation and subsequent performance. How well they engage with the organization, especially with their immediate environment, influences to a great extent their error rate, level of innovation and collaboration with other employees, absenteeism and, ultimately, how long they stay in the job.

The environment that people are required to work in can have a significant impact on their ability to undertake the tasks that they have been asked to do. This can affect performance and employee health and well-being. The key factors fall into two categories, those that are driven by procedures, protocols and management requirements and the factors that arise from premises, office or factory design. Management driven factors include the development of Organization plans such as the allocation of responsibilities at all levels of the organization, definition of job descriptions and the degree of access to the management and administrative support needed to complete their tasks; Working patterns, shift-working, break times, absence or holiday cover; and Health and safety policies, including the provision of training, development of safe working practices and the adequate supply of protective clothing and equipment. In today‟s competitive business environment, management cannot afford to waste the potential of their workforce. The key factors in work place environment impact greatly on employee‟s level of motivation and their performance. The workplace environment set in place impacts employee morale, productivity and performance– both positive and negative. And if the circumstances are not good it will be affecting the performance of the employees in the form of delay in work completion, frustration, effect on personal growth etc.

 

In an effort to motivate employees, organizations have implemented performance based pay, practices to help balance both work and family and various forms of information sharing. Management‟s new challenge is to create a work environment that attracts keeps and motivates its workforce.

 

1.2         STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The work environment has a significant impact upon employee productivity and performance. Work environment means those processes, systems, structures, tools or conditions  in   the   workplace   that   impact   favorably   or   unfavorably   on   individual performance. The work environment also includes policies, rules, culture, resources, working relationships, work location, and internal and external environmental factors, all of which influence the ways that employee perform their job functions. It is widely accepted that the work environment has an impact - positive or negative - on employees‟ performance. The work environment strongly influences the extent to which employees are engaged in their work and committed to the organization. Disengaged employees produce mediocre results; highly engaged employees produce extraordinary results. So it is necessary to study the impact of the work environment in an organization on the performance of its employees.

 

The work place environment in a majority of industry is unsafe and unhealthy. These includes poorly designed workstations, unsuitable furniture, lack of ventilation, inappropriate lighting, excessive noise, insufficient safety measures in fire emergencies and lack of personal protective equipment. Employees working in such environment are prone to occupational disease and it impacts on their performance. Thus performance is decreased due to the workplace environment. It is a wide industrial area where the employees are facing a serious problem in their work place like environmental and physical factors. So it is difficult to provide facilities to increase their performance level.

 

Management‟s new challenge is to build a work environment that attracts, retain and motivate its employees. It takes an entirely different approach than it did just a few years ago to keep employees satisfied today. Many workplace factors influence employee‟s performance. Relationship among personality, work environment preferences  and the outcome variables, performance and commitment affect employee‟s performance at the workplace. It is important for the employer to know how its work environment impacts greatly on the employee‟s level of motivation and performance. A well designed office signals the values and objectives of the company and the use of design in office interior communicates a company‟s values and identity. Office design therefore should be one of the factors affecting employees‟ performance. Employees‟ health and morale are often interrelated when it comes to performance in the work environment. It is therefore important to find out if work environment can directly or indirectly disturb employees‟ performance or productivity.

Noble (2003, p.352) states that more attention should be paid in identifying and dealing with working condition because when employee have negative perception to their environment they sometimes suffer from chronic stress. In the world, there are international organizations who debate the rights of employee. Most people spend fifty percent of their lives within indoor environments, which greatly influence their mental status, actions, abilities and performance (Sundstrom, 1994). Better outcomes and increased productivity is assumed to be the result of better workplace environment. Better physical environment of office was boosts the employees and ultimately improve their productivity. Various literature pertain to the study of multiple offices and office buildings indicated that the factors such as dissatisfaction, cluttered workplaces and the physical environment are playing a major role in the loss of employees‟ productivity (Carnevale 1992, Clements- Croome 1997).

The manufacturing companies of this country have undergone many changes such as failure and distraction which have been negative effect on the lives of employees.

 

The problem identified by the researchers is that since the establishment of many manufacturing companies, the staff in the manufacturing companies has been exposed to major changes, such as high staff turnover, staff shortage and increase in workload, in their working conditions. Based on the above information, it becomes evident that many factors exist in the working conditions and environment of the manufacturing companies that may have an impact on the performance of employees.

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