Working Conditions
April 4, 2004

Chapter 10

The environment of the workplace is as important to an employee’s efficiency and satisfaction as the work they are completing. This environment is comprised of several conditions such as location of work facility, the internal temperature, light and color schemes used within the workplace, elevators, and any other extra facilities such as day care or cafeterias. The division of psychology that studies the effects of these conditions upon workers is called environmental psychology.

The office setting is one of the most critical factors to consider when developing a productive environment. One of the most common forms of floor plan is called the landscaped office. This plan includes the grouping of employees into functional units with no floor to ceiling barriers. Each employee is given his or her own space in what is commonly referred to as cubical.

Another important part of the workspace makeup is the lighting and color scheme of the work area. Depending on what the task at hand is the lighting must fit the need of the employee. For example, when working in a printing facility the light must be as clear and natural as possible in order to correctly determine the colors within the printed work produced by the press. The actual color scheme of the environment must also be thought of when designing a work environment, if the work being done is stressful, the company might want to use a cool calming color scheme to help relieve the stress.

The largest factor within the realm of working conditions is how many hours is the employee working. This factor breaks down into two categories, nominal and actual working hours. Nominal working hours is the scheduled or prescribed number of hours that an employee is supposed to work and actual is how many hours the employee was performing work. To induce better performance an employer can reduce nominal working hours in a number of ways. The use of flextime where employees choose their own schedules, higher more part-time employees, and give more scheduled rest breaks. The study of this subject will continue and improvements to the work place will continue in order to continually improve productivity within a company.