Office work is mostly of repetitive nature and leads to monotony for the office staff. Sometimes, mental work may be more fatiguing than manual work. Excessive mental concentration may also be tiring. Therefore, it is necessary that the office staff should be provided with a congenial working environment which is conducive to work.
Office environment has a significant effect on the efficiency of office staff. The surroundings in which office personnel work should be healthy and pleasant. Poor office environment results in low output and low morale of employees. Labour turnover and absenteeism also tend to be high. Therefore, executives should arrange satisfactory working conditions in the office.
The physical factors which constitute a suitable working environment for the office staff are as follows.
Cleanliness and sanitation
The office must have a neat, clean and attractive look so as to make the employees be at ease and comfort and at the same time enhance the prestige of the organisation. There should be the provision of waste paper baskets, dustbins, doormats, spittoons etc., for the purpose.
Lighting is the most important element of the working environment. Poor lighting causes eye strain, mental fatigue and irritation to the employees and results in delay and mistakes in office work. There should be sufficient light with proper illumination.
Ventilation and temperature
The office premises should be properly ventilated and facilitate fresh air circulation. There should be natural ventilation, electric fans, exhaust fans etc., as per need. Air coolers and air conditioners may also be used for temperature control.
Reduction of noise
Noise results in more errors, low quality of work, delay, slowing down of the pace of work and lower output. Noise may be an occasional disturbance or a regular occurrence. It may be unusually loud at times. It may be from internal or external sources. For control of external noise the doors or windows can be closed but for internal noise, soundproof walls or partitions are necessary.
The art of decoration of the interior of a room or a building involves the use of wallpaper, carpets, curtains, wall-hangings, etc. The office should be internally decorated in such a way as to provide a pleasant surrounding to all.
Furniture and fittings
Office work is routine, monotonous and primarily indoor deskwork. Assistants have to sit daily in the office for long hours. Therefore, suitable furniture should be provided so that employees may work comfortably and speedily. Furniture includes desks, chairs, tables, racks, cabinets, cupboards, safety trays, almirahs etc. The type of furniture used in the office depends on the nature of work in the various sections, workspace in the office etc. However, modern and better quality furniture improves the general efficiency and adds to the prestige of the office in the eyes of visitors.
Some people think that office is a safe place and hardly any safety precautions are required in the office. However, accidents may and do happen in offices like one falling from seven feet high filing shelves, electric shock, fire, etc. Accidents cause loss of time, discomfort, low morale of employee and loss of property. Therefore, proper safety arrangements should be made in the office.
The office maintains and preserves records and documents. Also, there are valuable equipment and machines in use. Hence, there should be proper security arrangements to prevent theft, burglary, etc. Security measures like regulating entry, staff control, posting security guards, etc., differ from office-to-office.