The Work Environment is Yours to Define

Written by: Jennifer Watkins

A good work environment is required to get anything done. The modern workplace has a number of issues that make it far more complicated to manage than past workplaces, but the basics are still the same: Make sure that the workers have what they need to get the job done and they will surprise you. While there are more potential legal issues to be worried about, it is just a matter of keeping things running smoothly and once things are on an even keel it is easy to maintain the workplace. While there will always be personality conflicts, those can be kept to a minimum if the workplace is a safe place for everyone to work in and it has been made to facilitate work. Fortunately, this is a relatively easy task to accomplish.

Basics of a Great Workplace
Organization is the basis of any great work environment. Supplies need to be kept in a cool, dry location, preferably close by where they will be needed, such as toner near the printer and pens near the people. While most people will bring in some of their own supplies the office manager needs to be kept in mind that he should be supplying a good percentage of them. Of course, those supplies depend on the needs of the workplace; while office supplies are usually a part of it, disposable towels work in another worksite. Cleaning supplies should definitely be easy to grab, as a mess can happen in any area. The great office manager always inventories his supplies and may even order some items ahead of time.

The office manager should also make sure that the bills are paid. While the exact nature of those bills may vary from business to business, it can only help to make sure that they are paid. It may sound pretty basic, but shopping around is never a bad thing. Also, debate an in-house staff over contractors; if the business is large enough to warrant to having an accountant, a maintenance staff, an IT department, and even a mailroom, then, by all means, hire those people. Contractors are almost always more expensive and cannot always respond as quickly and efficiently as staff that actually works for the location. Physical security will always be a legitimate question, but make sure that you have at least a camera covering every location at the location.

Lastly, make sure that anyone hired is aware of any applicable legal issue and is briefed on any standard operating procedure. The latter means that any emergency systems need to be explained and shown, that complaint procedures need to be discussed, and any other operating procedures need to be explained, such as computer security and safety issues. Legal issues cover a wide variety of issues, ranging from sexual harassment to generally being an unpleasant person, but can cover a wide variety of other topics, depending on the business. It may help to have a lawyer on retainer in order to make sure that the business is covered as well as keep the business up to date should applicable laws change.

Rules and Office Governance
It is important for any office to have rules regarding the behavior of its inhabitants for the sake of peace. These are not just the legally mandated rules that any business needs to deal with but rules specifically crafted for that business, such as making sure that someone is around to pick up mail or that someone has to keep an eye on the office pet. These rules allow a business to better adapt to new situations as well as deal with situations as they come up; they can also create a unique environment. This rules should be stressed to any new employees and their particular history explained in order to ensure compliance and should be communicated to the employees when they are implemented.

Having Some Fun
Too many office managers get caught up in the business of running the office and forget that they need to manage the people as well. This means that they need to keep in mind that forcing those in the office to take a break is not a bad thing and can actually help productivity; those that are bored in the office, that have gotten into the same old rut, tend to just go through the business of work. By doing things to break things up, such as holiday parties or office contests, an office manager can help to deal with some of the boredom in the office.

This does more than just keep up interest; it can also help build teamwork. These events force people to work together in more than just the standard way they normally do; they are forced to relate to their co-workers as regular people, and that encourages better teamwork. Also, these events help to break down barriers created by cliques and other artificial boundaries, helping co-workers to feel more comfortable asking for help from each other. This makes these events important to establishing a comfortable work environment; even the occasional pizza party can be a great break from the usual rut. As such a good office manager will schedule these events every so often, generally on a Friday.

The Best Work Environment
All of these suggestions are an attempt to build the best possible work environment. The workplace should have everything that the employees need to get their jobs done without being having to bring in too much of their own supplies. This includes resources as well as support, and an idea of which laws they need to bear in mind. There also needs to be rules in place that allow them to adapt to deal with situations unique to the situation, and there should be plenty of occasions for everyone to meet and have a little fun together. All of these should build an environment that encourages teamwork and productivity.

Keep these tips in mind and your work environment should become a lot more ideal. These do not a lot of work and are something you should be doing anyway, so take advantage of them for greater business success.


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The Work Environment is Yours to Define

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