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What Is a Work Environment?

A negative work environment can severely affect a worker's mental health and productivity.
Unreasonable demands on employees can create a poor work environment.
A place where employees feel threatened is a bad work environment.
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  • Written By: M. McGee
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 16 December 2014
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A work environment is any location in which people perform work for money. In most cases, this term applies to locations such as offices or stores. In these cases, workers travel to the location, do their work and then go home. These types of work environments only exist as work locations—when no one is working, they are empty. Work environments, however, are not restricted to these sorts of locations. Nonstandard work environments vary widely from at-home offices to airplanes.

The term work environment can apply to nearly any location where there are people doing things. A person in an office, someone doing dishes at home and someone hunting an animal for dinner are all working and are all in an environment. Even though all these locations and actions could be work environments, typically only the first one would be considered as such.

Under most definitions, in order to be a work environment, people need to be there to earn money. Whereas doing dishes and hunting are still work, the people doing these actions are not earning. Even with this point filtering out certain nonstandard people and places, there are still a huge number of types and styles of work environments.

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Some of the most common styles of work environment are stores, offices and schools. These environments don’t perform any function at all when workers aren’t present. In most cases, they are completely empty except when work is going on. When people think of a normal job, this is often what they think of.

Nonstandard work environments have a wider range of types and styles. Some nonstandard environments have a lot in common with standard ones. For instance, in the case of a construction site, there is no activity without the workers and it is typically empty when no one is working. On the other hand, this environment is often outside and temporary, two factors that separated it from a common office.

Other environments are much different from standard ones. A home office may be used for work some hours out of the day, and not for others. In addition, certain trades, like plumbers or electricians, work inside a home while it is actively being used as a home. Lastly, people that work on airplanes, trains or trucks have work environments that move and travel.

A work environment is often described as good or bad. A good environment is a place where the workers feel at ease and appreciated. Workers in these sorts of environments are often more productive and happy. A bad work environment is a location where the worker feels under-appreciated, threatened or unsettled. Due to the nature of these environments, there is often a high worker turnover rate, and the workers typically fail to live up to their potential.

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Discuss this Article

SauteePan
Post 2

Sneakers41-I will tell you that a growing number of companies are looking to allowing employees to work from home because it saves them a lot of money in carrying costs and expenses of housing the employees in an office.

For example, many call centers are outsourcing their work to third party companies that hire teams of contractors to service the company’s clients.

These contractors get paid on a per call basis and unlike the traditional employee that is offered an hourly wage regardless if the phone rings, the contractor only gets paid if they answer a call. This allows the company to offer the highest productivity model and saves a lot of money because they do not have to pay an employee to stay idle.

I know that many companies are offering more creative work environments. Companies like Pixar and Google’s work environment allow employees a flexible schedule in which they can alter their work schedule according to their personal life and as long as they commit to their forty hours a week, the company does not care how it is done.

The amazing perks at these companies ensures that the turnover is almost nonresistant and getting a job with these companies is difficult.

sneakers41
Post 1

I think that the traditional work environment of working in an office is the most common work environment.

Most are smoke free work environments and dictate the work environment policy of the company. For example, a zero tolerance to profanity and harassment are usually required of most companies.

Adhering to the process dress code maintaining a certain level of punctuality is normally required of most traditional work environments as well.

However, a growing number of virtual work environments are cropping up. These employees are referred to as telecommuters and often work in the privacy of their own home.

They also have productivity goals and usually attend meeting by the company through a teleconference or traditional conference call. Sometimes these employees are required to attend meetings at the corporate office bimonthly.

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