ASSESSING THE EFFECT OF WORK PLACE ENVIRONMENT ON EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE

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ASSESSING THE EFFECT OF WORK PLACE ENVIRONMENT ON EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

The workplace environment in which employees work and undertake most of their activities can impact on the performance. The quality and quantity of work generated by employees are influenced by the workplace environment. There are poor environmental conditions that can cause inefficient workers productivity as well as reduce their job satisfaction, which in turn will impact on the financial well-being of the organization (keeling and kallaus 1996).
Many managers and supervisors labor under the mistaken impression that the level of employee performance on the job is proportional to the size of the employee pay pocket. Although this may be true in minority case, numerous employees surveys have shown by and large this to be untrue. In fact, salary increases and bonuses for performance, in many instances have a very limited short-term effect. The extra money soon comes to be regarded not as an incentive but as an entitlement. There are other factors that when combined provide a more powerful determinant of employees performance. When these factors are missing, the employee does come to work only for a payback. In this case, the employee is present at work in body only, leaving their mind outside the gate. It is the quality of the employees workplace environment that impacts most on the level of 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 nature of the physical conduct under which employees work is important to output (Richard, 2006).
Brenner (2004) asserts that the ability of employees within an organization to share knowledge through the system depends on the conditions of their work. It is revealed that corporate executives from various industries disclosed that many organizations do not fully leverage their physical work environment to enable increase collaboration, innovation and improve work effectiveness. It is also observed that employees tend to be more productive in a well facilitated environment. The quality of comfort derivable from work environment determines the level of satisfaction and performance of workers (Brenner, 2004).
Improved work environment will enhance employees’ performance. For example a standard health facility in the organization will protect the life of workers in case of any sickness or hazard of any kind. The growth of any organization which determines its survival in the competitive industry depends to a large extent on the performance of its workforce (Quible, 2000).
Most people spend fifty percent of their lives within their working environment which greatly influence their mental actions, ability and performance (Quible, 2000.). Better outcomes and increased performance is assumed to be the result of better workplace environment.
When assessing the workplace environment, consideration should be given to individual human characteristics such as age, sex, experience, physical stature etc., and how well these human characteristics match the physical environment. Appropriate design of workplace environments will ensure that they accommodate a broad variety of human characteristics (Merchant et al 2003).
The work environment should satisfy the physical and mental requirements of the people who work within it. The necessary adjustments to the work area, in terms of the heights and angles of furniture and equipment, should be made for the comfort and safety of each person (Huges, 2007).
Physical environmental factors can have an adverse impact on people. The specific physical factors that limit performance will vary depending on both the work environment and individual differences. Those people who are working within an environment are the ones best able to identify factors that affect their work. It is important to involve these ‘hands-on’ people in consultations with supervisors, managers and occupational health and safety personnel when considering options for controlling the risks in question(soundstorms, 1992).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Creating a work environment which promotes wellbeing of employees and increase individual performance is viewed as a strategy for enhancing company efficiency and productivity. Employee’s normally have expectation and will demand a workplace environment that facilitates them to perform their work optimally. When this is sufficiently provided, it can boost organizational competitiveness. Organizations exist in an environment, and the workplace environment affects the employee’s performance. Employees do complain of stress, air quality in the office layout, noise within the environment, insufficient lightening and uncomfortable furniture etc. These when not taken care of could reduce interest and performance, and could result to employee turnover. Thus, the study seeks to assess the effects of workplace environment on employee performance.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

This research intends to achieve the following specific objectives;

  1. To assess how workplace environment affects employee performance
  2. To ascertain the nature of the relationship between workplace environment and employee performance
  3. To assess the extent to which workplace environment affects employee performance

1.4 Research Questions

This research is poised towards providing answer to the following questions;

  1. How does workplace environment affects employee performance
  2. What is the nature of the relationship between workplace environment and employee performance
  3. To what extent does workplace environment affects employee performance

1.5 Hypotheses

The study has the following hypotheses
 
1    H1: comfortable office design motivates the employees and increases their performance
 
Ho: comfortable office design does not motivate the employees and does not increase their performance

  1. H1: There is a positive relationship between workplace environment and employee performance.

Ho: There is no positive relationship between workplace environment and employee performance
 

  1. H1: The extent to which workplace environment affects employee performance is significant.

Ho:   The extent to which workplace environment affects employee performance is not significant.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study is significant because it will help organizations know the importance of maintaining a comfortable, safe and supportive physical environment which enhances employee performance and also enhances organizational effectiveness. The study will serve as a reference material for future researches.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The study focuses on the concept of workplace environment, employee performance, and impact of workplace environment on employee performance, concept of employee and the composition of work environment. The study will be carried out in the following organizations: Nigerian brewery plc 9th mile plant Enugu located at Amaeke Ngwo near 9th mile corner in Enugu state and Juhel pharmaceutical company ltd Akwa located along Enugu/Onitsha expressway,Awka, Akwa south. The study covers the period of 2008 to 2014.

 1.8 Limitation of the Study

The major constraints of the study include the following
Time Constraint: due to the limited time given for this study, the opportunity of gathering all information needed for this study was restricted.
Attitudes of the Respondents; some respondents find it difficult to corporate because they felt that there is nothing they will benefit from the study.
 

1.9 Operational Definition of Terms

Performance: performance is a rating system used to determine abilities and output. In this study, it is the measure of quality expectation, relative to his or her peers, on several job-related behaviours and outcomes Armstrong (2006).
Physical Environment; physical environment includes ergonomic components of the tangible workplace environment that comprise spatial layout and functionality. In this study it includes furniture’s, lightings, ventilation and noise Shikdar (2002).
Psychosocial Environment: psychosocial factors at work refer to interactions between and among work environment, job content, organisational conditions and workers’ capacities, needs, culture, personal extra-job considerations that may, through perceptions and experience, influence health, work performance and job satisfaction. In this study it is taken as working conditions, social support from supervisor and role congruity Briner (2002),
Role Congruity: role congruity proposes that a group will be positively evaluated when its job characteristics are recognized as aligning with that group’s typical expectation. In this study, it includes role specification and job description, job design and job analysis. Eagly & Diekman (2005),
Workplace: workplace environment describes the immediate surrounding conditions in which an employee operates. For the purpose of this study, this variable has been operationalized with the help of following dimensions; physical and psychosocial environment and work life balance. Heath (2006).
Employee Performance: performance is concerns those behaviors directed toward the organization’s missions or goals, or the product or services resulting from those behaviors. A person’s performance is a function of several factors, but perhaps it can be boiled down to three primary concerns: ability, motivation, and environment (Snell  2010).

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