Managers in the contemporary are faced with the new challenge of creating working environments that are attractive and motivating to their workforce. As it has been revealed, employees’ level of motivation is directly proportional to their productivity in their workplaces. On this basis, organizational management should create a work environment that makes employees derive pleasure and jot from what they do, by making them feel having a purpose in their workplace (Nikolaou 2003, p. 640). With the contemporary workplace becoming diverse and quite dynamic, the employees-employer relationship has largely been dependent on both external and internal factors which regulate their interactions. For instance, there is no strong competition in the labor market to attract talent deals, which has made it difficult for contemporary organizations to maintain employee competencies, while at the same time upholding the market standards in production (Moos, 2000).
It is important to note that, highly motivated human resources are one of the key competitive advantages among organizations (Stevens & Ash 2001, p. 511). In this regard, an important element in raising loyalty is the presence of a healthy work environment, appropriate for the survival of the employee. Responsibility, for this reason, has been down in the human resources management, which must develop policies and a system of incentives and promotion, to help create an environment in which to raise the degree of belonging and loyalty, and therefore have a direct impact on employee performance. Concerning my experience from the Saudi market, many organizations have been frequently losing potential workforce due to unhealthy and unfavorable working environments for their employees. As it has been observed, many of these organizations are not interested in the number of staff who quit their jobs, or the degree of performance. However, with a healthy environment much more profits could be achieved, if the employee force was treated with more attention, as a very important resource for the organizations’ productivity.
Statement of the Problem
As it has been observed, many organizations are being faced with frequent workforce loss due to their inefficient human resources management body. Recent research has shown how there exists a strong correlation between work environment and employees’ performance. Concerning the Saudi markets, many employees’ expectations in social organizations have not been met, since the management seems less responsible at providing a favorable working environment for their workforce (Nowier, 2005, p. 134). This study seeks to establish ways in which the working environment in Saudi Arabian organizations improves employees’ performance.
Goals and Objectives of the Study
This study focuses on improving the work environment through identifying the typical environment for the employee in the Saudi Arabian private and public sectors. More so, this study will address the work environment in the Saudi public and private sectors, as well as make a simple comparison between them. The study also attempts to expound on the concept of a healthy environment and its subsequent impact on the employees’ performance. This research will examine the following relationships of employees’ motivation concerning the organizations’ performance:
- The relationship between work environment and employees’ performance level
- The relationship between working environment and the organizations’ profitability
- The most important areas of consideration while seeking favorable work conditions among managers in social organizations
- The relationship between working environment and the attitude of employees towards work in both public and private sector
This research will be based on the following research questions:
- What are the appropriate requirements among employees to be more loyal to their employers in terms of performance?
- What is the precise meaning of ‘work environment’?
- What particular aspects of working conditions should be considered as healthy for employees’ high performance?
- What are the underlying reasons for making the working environment among organizations healthy?
- Are workplace conditions related to employees’ performance among social organizations?
- What are the specific ways in which managers can make working environments for their employees healthy to facilitate higher performance?
The rationale and the significance of the study
Despite many business organizations being profit-oriented, very little concern has been made on human resources. According to Power (2005,p.135), many human resource management bodies have largely been focusing on development strategies through innovations, without considering the conditions of the workplace in which their human workforce operates. In this respect, there has been a rising need to carry out an intensive study on how working conditions impact employees’ performance, to facilitate the acquirement of competitive advantage among such organizations through a highly motivated workforce.
As it has been observed, both physical and social environments in workplaces affect employees’ productivity largely. In cases where employees are experiencing unfavorable working conditions, they will find it hard to concentrate on their specific tasks, resulting in their low productivity. As revealed by Nikolaou (2003, p. 641), the social environment among employees is one of the core determinants of the level of motivation towards work. For instance, the leadership styles exercised by supervisors and the subsequent comments they make to their workforce impacts a lot on the employees’ performance. In the context of Saudi Arabia, not many organizations are aware of the role of employees’ motivation through favorable working conditions. As a result, many organizations have been facing consistent loss of potential workforce, resulting into their general poor performance. On this basis, there has been increasing need to share the knowledge of economic and social benefits of favorable working conditions among such organizations to facilitate higher employees’ performance.
As a general rule, conducive or better working conditions at the workplace produce better results. Employees’ performances are often measured following the level of output a particular person produces, that is to say, the productivity of an individual. Several factors may affect individual productivity at the corporate level (Tata & Prasad 2004). These factors include technology, employees in the organization, objectives of the organization, the physical environment of an organization, as well as the effects of such an environment on the performance and health of the employees (Neal et al. 2000).
AS Croome (2000) puts it, the physical environment in which an individual works has a major impact on job satisfaction and performance. In modern offices, the tasks that are performed by employees are increasingly becoming complex due to the use of sophisticated technology that such tasks require. Such an environment as the literature suggests is likely to adversely affect the worker’s performance. On the other, Klitzman & Stellman, (2000) suggest that where an organization invests in the improvement of its employee’s quality of life, then, there is a very big possibility that their productivity would tremendously increase.
Work environment preferences according to Lazarus& Cohen, (2007) can be evaluated using three aspects of the environmental settings of the work. These three dimensions include relationship dimensions, goal orientation, and system maintenance. The importance of the relationship dimension is to assess the level of workers’ interpersonal interactions at work; this may involve cohesion amongst the organization workers as well as the level of social communication. According to McCoy & Evans (2005), system maintenance depicts how the work setting is organized, the level of control needed to maintain such setting and the clarity of the job expectations. The aspect of goal orientation measures the level to which a given environment suffocates or encourages growth by way of allowing workers participation in the process of decision making. According to Lee (2006), the aforementioned woke environment preferences play a vital role in personal performance at the workplace.
Research suggests that several aspects are involved in environmental comfort categorized in three related hierarchies: psychological, functional, and physical comfort (Vischer & Fischer 2005). Psychological comfort emanates from workers feeling a sense of ownership, control, and belonging at their respective places of work. Functional comfort is the support rendered to workers to enable them to perform more effectively in organizational activities and tasks (Sims 2000). These functional comforts may include enclosed rooms for purposes of collaborative work or holding meetings, appropriate and sufficient all these helps in ensuring functional comfort. Physical comfort on the other hand entails the provision of human basic needs such as easy accessibility to the workplace and safety. This can only be achieved through implementing appropriate building standards and codes to construction decisions as well as architectural design (Haynes 2007).
According to Power (2005,p.127), it is of great importance for management in social organizations to consider the issue of employee motivation seriously in their pursuit of higher performance. Particularly, favorable working conditions have been revealed as a very influential factor to determine the performance of employees in social organizations. Concerning Stevens & Ash (2001,p. 509), the ability of employees to derive pleasure from their environment of work is a very significant issue for consideration among managers in social organizations. About the recent research on workforce motivation, employees’ performance among organizations is directly related to specific aspects of their interaction with their supervisors.
The problem of poor and unfavorable working environments has been identified in many public organizations, which has greatly demoralized their workforce. As revealed in many social organizations, employees’ opinions and ideas are never considered, besides depriving employees of their freedom within their working environment (Luthans & Sommer 2005,p 331). In addition, many social organizations in the public sector have been revealed to be lacking the capacity to facilitate self-managed teams; thus discouraging autonomy and decision-making responsibility among their employees. According to Nikolaou (2003, p. 643), the administration of the workforce in organizations should be decentralized to provide a favorable working environment for workers to execute their duties more effectively. On the other hand, a decentralized system of workers would ensure that workers are given humble time and that managers would make limited interruptions.
According to Power (2005,p.129), most governmental organizations are non-profits oriented and are therefore less concerned with the motivation of their employees. Notably, if the workers in governmental organizations are not well motivated intrinsically, they usually perform very poorly resulting in low productivity within the organizations. As a result, a lot of resources are wasted with very low output, leading to poor economic performance in such organizations. In addition, public resources are largely misallocated, resulting in deteriorating economic performance within governmental organizations, which in turn slows down the overall economic growth and development of the country. On this basis, employees’ motivation has been revealed as a very useful strategy among organizations to enhance high profitability as a result of sustained employees’ performance (Brill et al. 2004).
The main research methods to be used in this study will be interviews and questionnaires. Various organizations in the private and public sectors will be selected in which samples of about 200 employees will be administered with questionnaires. The main form of questionnaires to be used in this research will be Cooper Stress Index Tool (CSI); where various aspects of the employees while at their workplace will be covered. These aspects included emotional, physical, and social factors in determining the level of motivation of the employees within their workplace. More so, about 10 managers from these organizations will be selected and be interviewed about their organizational structure and the working conditions for their employees. Further, the productivity of the organizations will be compared with the conditions of their employees’ working conditions. More so, this study will rely on different case studies from different organizations in both the private and public sectors. These case studies will be studied on working conditions for their employees, concerning their overall productivity.
The Plan of the Research (Schedule)
The entire plan for the research is presented in the following 12 weeks Gantt chart. Since Gant charts are very simple, their use, in this case, will make it easier to tabulate the various activities to be involved in the overall study. More so, the plan for this study using Gantt charts will make it easier to schedule each particular activity concerning the available data.
The proposed timetable for completing this research is as follows:
|Revise literature review and proposal.|
|Write the questionnaires And interview questions to be distributed.|
|Actual data collection from the field (Collect information personally).|
|Data Analysis & In-depth research of relevant literature on employee’s motivation|
|Write the draft and deliver it to the supervisor and submit the draft to the supervisor|
Limitations of this research
This research is prone to fund shortages as it involves a lot of movements from one place to another to interview the identified individuals. In addition to transport costs, the production of a large number of questionnaires is also quite costly, whilst the available funds are limited. More so, the respondents involved in the process of carrying out the data collection may not respond faithfully. This is because; some of them may withhold some information concerning their social interactions in their workplace, in fear of being exposed regardless of the confident assurance of their information to be provided.
The problems identified have been planned to be solved in various ways. First, the movements from one station to another would be limited by conducting all the research from one station without returning. Concerning the problem of response from the respondents, it would be solved through assuring the respondents of the confidentiality of the data given by establishing a more close interaction with the respondents to win their confidence and trust. By so doing, this research will be less vulnerable to constraints and shortcomings.
The significance and impact of the working environment on the productivity of employees are dealt with in this study. The importance of this issue cannot, therefore, be overemphasized especially among the personnel manager in any organization. The issue of the working environment in the perspective of Saudi Arabia is quite new and has not captured much attention. Consequently, there are very limited researches that have been conducted about human recourse and the issue of the working environment in Saudi Arabia. There is a great need for scholars to undertake a new investigation on the issue to narrow the enormous gap.
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