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The work environment for many businesses in Jamaica is severely lacking. It is very unfortunate that employees are expected to provide great quality service and products, irrespective of the work conditions. Work environment is defined as the surrounding conditions that an employee is expected to operate in. It is the physical conditions, such as the processes, the physical structures and equipment that will be looked at.
Toxic work environments were highlighted in a previous article entitled “Workplace Causing Stress? It is Not Worth It!”
Healthy Work Environments?
Operating in unpleasant environments seems to be a norm in the Jamaican landscape. Many individuals can attest to facing discomfort at their workplace, which later contributes to several other illnesses. In identifying the ideal environments, Money Zine stated that
“Healthy work environments will be free from problems associated with sick building syndrome, which is often due to poor ventilation or off-gassing of chemicals used during construction. The accumulation of molds and mildew may also lead to sick building syndrome.”
Unfortunately in Jamaica, this seems to be a norm. Countless newspaper articles and headlines have called into question the poor state of work environments, specifically…. Go…….let me not say.
‘Long hours of standing to be expected’ is a phrase that will be regularly seen for customer support jobs. This action of standing for long hours leads to many medical conditions. Long term back pain and other disorders can be as a result of standing for an extended time. Sadly, the only respite is to take a daily pill. Similarly, jobs that require individuals to be seated for an extended time, with few breaks, are equally severe.
These working conditions have become the typical condition to work in, and it shows the lack of empathy of many top management personnel. There is no structure to make it easier to operate, such as providing comfortable and efficient seating, as well as allowance of breaks.
The State of Work Spaces
Workstations should provide comfort, and it certainly should not be ‘a dream’.
In taking a look into many organizations’ cubicles and work spaces that they expect employees to achieve optimum productivity in, it is simply laughable. In designing work cubicles, furnished with the proper tools and equipment, there should be an inclusion of the employees. After all, they are the ones who will be using it. However, in majority of the situations, decisions are made in managerial meetings, with no concerns for the affected workers. In many circumstances, employees can instantly provide advice on what could be better, and what wasn’t needed. They continue to be overlooked.
Unprotected computer screens, worn and frayed office chairs, bland walls, stained and cracked floors, haphazard cubicles, and unsuitable desks are a few of the items in an unpleasant work environment. Sadly, you will be guaranteed to see a few or all of these items at organizations in Jamaica.
Modern, Clean and Comfortable Spaces
This is not a lost cause, and there is the belief that we can achieve and create suitable workstations for employees. In providing better work spaces for employees, it will certainly lead to higher productivity in the organizations. It should not be rocket science to know that when employees are satisfied, customer service will be at an optimal level.
Though I am mindful of the budgetary constraint, it is still possible to provide comfort on a budget. As creative and innovative minds are usually given space to breathe and to grow, it should be the same with those in routine jobs. Similarly, all employees need breathable spaces, whether they are dealing with figures, art or words, they deserve comfort.
The world is changing, and Jamaica needs to start gearing up as well. In aiming to make our work spaces suitable to actually be worked in, we need to get rid of bland and tattered walls, and uncomfortable seating in the organizations. Tapestry must be used to enhance a space and not to be used to block out the sunlight and make a space dull and stuffy. Similarly beige and white walls are so 2003, add a little colour and let the building shine. This colour will also brighten the smiles and the attitude of the workers. Let us do better in making Jamaica the place to live, work and raise families. #Vision2030 #BetterWorkspaces.