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 productivity 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:
oOrganisation plans such as the allocation of responsibilities at all levels of the organisation, definition of job descriptions and the degree of access to the management and administrative support needed to complete their tasks;
o Working patterns, shift-working, break times, absence or holiday cover; and
oHealth and safety policies, including the provision of training, development of safe working practices and the adequate supply of protective clothing and equipment.
The work environment can also have an impact on an individual’s ability to work safely, competently and in compliance with operational performance targets. It is important to address the following:
o Work space availability. Have you determined whether there is adequate space available for the tasks the individual is required to undertake? Are desks/computer terminals being shared and is this affecting productivity or causing stress? If the individual is working in a manufacturing area and they need to complete documentation or carry out inspection is there a work station available in their work environment close to where they work?
o Light intensity. The requirements for light intensity and type of light should be determined as insufficient light will impact on visual inspection activities.
oWeather/temperature. Is the area where the individual is required to work too hot or too cold, open to the weather/elements? If there is a requirement to work outside or in adverse temperatures does the company provide adequate controls, clothing or equipment?
o Ventilation/humidity. Does the work environment contain poor quality air that could cause fatigue or a reduction in performance?
oNoise/vibration. Can vibration affect an individual’s performance or safety? Is it a requirement to wear ear protection? Could this adversely affect performance?
oOdour/dust or other emissions. How is this assessed and if required controlled to ensure personnel safety?
oPremises hygiene/welfare facilities. Is the area that the individual is expected to work in hygienic, clean and tidy? Does the level of clutter affect performance? Is the area so filthy, unhygienic or infested with pests that it causes stress to those individuals working there? Are staff facilities, toilets, washrooms, canteens, coffee making facilities appropriate and maintained in a hygienic state?
How often do you as a senior manager take a site walk? What do you look for? Do you know what effect current employee dissatisfaction has on organizational productivity and profitability? Remember it is your responsibility to ensure the health, safety and welfare of those who work for you!