Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Let's Get Physical (with apologies to Olivia Newton John) - Part 2

In our last blog entry, I described a little bit about the physical environment that I used to work in and compared it to the physical environment of my counterparts in the corporate office. The differences were dramatic, but what really stuck in my mind was the impact that the physical environment had on the morale, creativity, and productivity of my counterparts.

While our office space in Akron, Ohio was nothing special, the environment that my counterparts worked in was literally draining them of their desire and ability to do the work required. By no means do I mean to imply that people in plush offices do more work than people in regular facilities. But when employees are surveyed about what is important to them at work, the physical environment always rates high.

Why is the physical environment important?

Just think for a few moments about the term “spring fever.” It’s that feeling you get when, after a long harsh winter, you suddenly see the first signs of relief, a break in the weather, and a chance of something better in the future. It’s only when spring fever hits that you truly realize how much the winter has gotten to you. How it has slowly beaten you down over a few months, slowly sapping your energy and enthusiasm. But at the first whiff of spring your energy suddenly returns, your creativity is engaged, and you get restless. Restless because you want more sunshine, more warm weather, more spring.

When employees go to work in an unfriendly or unhealthy work environment, they don’t always notice it right away. But over time it slowly impacts them mentally and physically; reducing their effectiveness, reducing their productivity, affecting their attitude, and costing you money.

But then something happens. Maybe they visit a friend in their office, have a business appointment in a new location, or even do charitable work with their church. And they get that first whiff of a different physical environment. The area is well lit, cubicles are decorated with family photos, and music can be heard from a variety of sources. Suddenly your employee realizes what they have been missing. They have that whiff of new possibilities and they want more.

It’s springtime in their mind.

Of course, no employee would ever quit their job and tell their boss that they are leaving because the lighting isn’t good. Or that they’re upset because company policy doesn’t allow personal affects at their workspace. And they would never tell you that they want to go somewhere else because they can listen to their music. Instead they tell you that they’re leaving for a better opportunity, a job closer to home, or to follow their passion.

And what happens when they leave?

You lose their knowledge, their training, and their experience. You must now go through the painful process of hiring someone new, hoping that you get the right person, afraid that you won’t. And then there is the training that takes between 6 months and a year to complete. You’ve lost productivity as well, not to mention the institutional knowledge and the cost of getting a new employee up to speed.

Assuming of course that this person works out, and you don’t have to do it two or even three times to find the right employee.

Now, here’s the really bad news. Your office doesn’t have to be nearly as bad as a Dickens novel to be the kind of workplace that drains your employees. In the 21st century, employee expectations are higher. Without ever voicing it, they expect the workplace to be comfortable and inviting. And if it is not, they will slowly slip into winter in the office.

At ECI Learning Systems LLC, we are dedicated to helping companies get the greatest return from their most valuable asset: their employees. We work with you to align 3 key organizational factors:

• Your Company Culture
• The Leadership Styles of your key managers
• The Expectations of your Employees

When these 3 factors are aligned, you create an energy in your company that improves productivity, reduces absenteeism, increases creativity, and positively impacts your bottom line. Contact ECI Learning Systems LLC today to get your free Workplace Evaluation.

Until next time.....

Dave Meyer
ECI Learning Systems, LLC

No comments:

Post a Comment