What Is a Good Work Environment? (Plus Other FAQs)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 15 November 2022
Published 27 September 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A good working environment is important to employee productivity and morale. Healthy work environments include many components, including a positive culture and comfortable physical space. If you want to improve your office environment, you can make changes to key areas of your workplace. In this article, we describe what a good work environment looks like and how to cultivate one, and we answer several other frequently asked questions.
What is a work environment?
A work environment is the setting, social features and physical conditions in which employees perform their jobs. The environment that employees work in can impact their feelings of wellbeing, workplace relationships, collaboration and productivity. Usually, a workplace environment may contain multiple components that work together, including the physical space, company culture and working conditions.
Related: A Guide to Singapore Work Culture
What is a good working environment?
A good working environment is a setting in which employees feel comfortable and work productively. Often, positive work settings encourage employees to pursue work-life balance, and employers offer flexibility to help employees achieve this. These environments are also supportive and accommodating when employees need help.
Related: Tips for Better Work-Life Balance
What does a working environment include?
A working environment contains many elements that work together, including:
One of the major components of an overall work setting is the physical environment, which can include:
Facilities: The facilities that an employer offers can affect how employees feel, and being able to take a break or go to the bathroom are essential parts of a productive daily routine, so the location of these facilities can also impact the environment that employees work in. Additional facilities such as relaxing spaces and on-site gyms can also have a positive influence on employees.
Location: The location that employees work in is another element that affects their environment. Some roles predominantly work inside, some spend most of their working day outside and certain roles may have a mixture of both indoor and outdoor work.
Layout: The layout of a workspace can also affect the environment. The design of a workplace can depend on the type of work, as a more collaborative environment may benefit from an open layout, while a job that requires discretion would better operate with separate offices or cubicles to ensure privacy.
Furnishings: Desks, chairs, conference tables and other furniture can also affect how employees do their jobs. Access to comfortable and adequate seating, clean workspaces and functional desks can ensure that workplaces are productive.
Equipment: Some jobs need specific equipment like computers. When an employer provides this equipment, it can make it easier for employees to do their jobs and improve the workplace.
Company culture is another element of the work setting. Company culture can include:
Code of conduct: Some companies explain their business culture in a formal code of conduct or provide guidelines for employees. These documents can outline standards for performing tasks and interacting with coworkers, workplace leaders and external stakeholders.
Development opportunities: Many employers offer professional development opportunities for their employees, including training and volunteer events. This can boost employee morale and help create a supportive environment.
Mission statement: A mission statement is a set of values the company seeks to exude through its work. A company's values often guide every task employees do and each goal they work towards.
Working conditions are another component of the environment that employees work in. Working conditions can include:
Work-life balance: Work-life balance is a major element of a healthy environment. The number of hours worked each week and when can vary depending on the role, company and industry, and some organisations may promote work-life balance by offering generous paid time off or flexible work schedules.
Employment terms: Employment terms can include whether your work is a temporary contract or permanent employment. This element may also include benefits and paid time off stipulations as well.
Workplace safety: There are nationally mandated workplace safety regulations that employers follow, and your employer might display the regulations in public spaces to ensure all employees understand and adhere to these policies. Also, the safe use of equipment, accessibility to exits, emergency equipment and first-aid can impact this element of working conditions.
What are the different types of work environments?
You can create work settings that fit different personalities, according to the Holland theory of personality and job compatibility. These different environments can include:
One popular type of environment is the conventional workplace. This environment focuses on specificity, predictability and organisation. Those who prefer traditional environments are often referred to as organisers, and they may work best in settings that have clear order, encourage practicality and value dependability. Typically, traditional office jobs thrive in conventional workplaces.
Another option is the realistic environment, which is usually best suited for employees who work kinesthetically in hands-on jobs. This environment promotes physical activity, and those who work well in this environment are often skilled at and prefer using tools and working with their hands. Jobs with realistic environments include those in engineering, maintenance and construction.
An artistic environment is a great choice for creative professionals. This environment encourages innovation, experimentation and personal expression. Artistic environments are often best for those who thrive in more flexible and emotional settings. For example, this environment can be fitting for artists and graphic designers.
A social environment promotes communication, helping, healing and education between employees. Those who do well in this environment are often known as healers and have traits such as kindness, empathy and compassion. Careers that typically offer social working environments include education, social work, counselling and nursing.
An investigative environment focuses on critical thinking, experimentation and problem-solving. Much of the work in this environment involves gathering evidence, studying information and learning and making conclusions. Therefore, this type of environment is well-suited to jobs like engineering and science.
An enterprising environment may emphasise guiding others to reach their goals. Enterprising environments are best for “persuaders” who thrive on competition and prefer to serve in roles that involve selling, convincing and debating. Some careers that have enterprising environments include real estate, politics and public service and sales.
How can you create a positive working environment?
You can use these tips to cultivate a positive environment in your workplace:
Assess your existing environment
One tip for creating a positive environment is to assess your existing environment. See if there are any issues with the physical space, company culture or other components that you can fix right away. You can also create a plan for improving your environment. For example, you may plan to paint the office walls yellow to make employees feel happier working in a more vibrant place.
Ask employees for feedback
Another tip for developing a positive environment is to ask employees for feedback. You can ask them if there's anything they would like to change about their workplace. This can help you curate an environment that matches the preferences and work styles of your specific employees.
Encourage positive attitude
A positive attitude is important to create a positive environment. If you hold a leadership position, it's important to lead by example and portray a positive attitude. This can encourage employees to do the same, which can foster a healthy environment and boost employee morale and satisfaction.
Choose the right type of working environment
Another tip for creating a positive environment is to choose the right type for your organisation. Think about the company's culture, your industry and the personalities of employees. For example, if you work for a marketing agency that prioritises creativity and achieving goals, you could pursue an artistic and enterprising environment.
Allow employees to customise their workspaces
You can also give employees the autonomy to customise their own workspaces. This can allow each employee to work in a space where they feel comfortable and productive in. For example, if one employee feels calm and productive when surrounded by plants, you could allow them to move small indoor plants into their office. This would help create a positive workspace for this specific employee.
Make changes to the physical space
Another tip for improving your work setting is to change the physical space. You can consider adding new decorations or getting better lighting. You can also rearrange furniture to update the appearance of the space.
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