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10 Poor Working Conditions and How They Affect Employee Productivity

23 October 2023

Have you noticed even your best employee making errors at work or showcasing signs of low productivity lately? Have you been thinking about what could have resulted in their performance decline? There could be numerous possibilities why an employee's productivity may get affected. It could be personal reasons or work stress, but usually, it's the poor working conditions.

You may not want to accept that it could be the work conditions affecting your employees' productivity going downhill, but it's true. Not many employers are considerate enough to evaluate how comfortable (or uncomfortable) their employees are at work. When the employees are uncomfortable at work or poor work conditions are causing them pain, their productivity is bound to decline.

There are so many aspects of a workplace that can affect employees' productivity, which is often neglected, and negligence costs employers more than they would ever want.

This blog post will help you improve employees' working conditions and get them maximum productivity. Let's get down to making your workplace a great place to work for your employees!

Work Conditions That Can Affect Employee Productivity

You'll be surprised to know that numerous factors may be affecting your employees' productivity that you may have never thought of before. Knowing what's causing a productivity decline will help you address them and restore the maximum productivity of your employees.

We've listed some of the biggest factors contributing to poor working conditions and reduced employee productivity.

Outdated Technology and Equipment

When was the last time you updated and upgraded your workplace and systems? If it's been a while, outdated technology and equipment might be the reason why your employees' productivity is declining. Technology is evolving with every passing day. Faster and more efficient versions have taken over the systems and equipment that you installed several years ago. Expecting your employees to work productively on outdated systems is quite unfair. The older the equipment and systems are, the slower and less versatile they'll be!

Excessive Workload

If the workload on your employees is too much, their productivity will decrease. Every person has a threshold of workload that they can do. Making them work beyond that threshold will only stress them out and affect their productivity and efficiency. Overworked employees are low on morale, motivation, and willingness to work, which shows in their work.

Inefficient Processes

There's always room for improvement. There's a high chance that the processes and workflow aren't as efficient as they should be. There may be certain bottlenecks in the processes that are slowing the employees down and affecting their productivity. If the processes aren't smooth and efficient, they'll hinder the employees from getting things done on time.

Uncomfortable Office Furniture

Only a few employees give thought to office furniture. Traditional office furniture is one of the leading causes of employee discomfort at work. If employees aren't comfortable at work, they'll be distracted and will fail to concentrate on work. This will impact their productivity directly. Not only does uncomfortable office furniture slow work down, it also puts employees at risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders that may result in the employee's ability to work, let alone deliver 100% productivity.

Bad Lighting

A poorly lit workplace also affects employee productivity adversely. Poor lighting, either too dim or too bright, puts strain on the eyes, causes headaches, and reduces productivity. Dimly lit workplaces also result in stress and anxiety in employees, affecting productivity big time!

No Work Flexibility

Everyone needs some relaxation every now and then. If you don't provide your employees any flexibility in work schedules, you're paving the way for poor employee productivity. When the employees start to feel overworked and overburdened, and their personal life starts to get affected due to work, they become frustrated, and this frustration shows as poor productivity.

Poor Hygiene

A dirty and unhygienic office space puts off employees and affects their productivity. Untidy floors and dirty washrooms will only make the employees feel bad about their office, and when they don't feel good about their workplace, they won't work with as much dedication and commitment as they should. Not only this, poor workplace hygiene conditions can also make employees sick, which is bound to affect employee productivity adversely.

Lack of Acknowledgement and Benefits

Another reason why employees' productivity may go downhill is the lack of acknowledgment and benefits. Employees feel happy and are highly productive in a work environment where their efforts and contributions are acknowledged, and they're provided with competitive employee benefits. These factors keep employees motivated and hence, highly productive. However, if you don't offer good employee benefits and don't appreciate your employees often, expect their productivity to go downhill.

Uncooperative Management

Poor employee productivity shouldn't surprise you if you don't cooperate with your employees well. Employees expect responses from their management when they present their concerns and complaints. However, when these concerns are shrugged off, the employees don't feel like putting in any extra effort to get things done because they assume the management doesn't care, and they feel like they shouldn't either!

Unsafe Work Conditions

Another important factor that contributes to poor workplace conditions is poor workplace safety. Employees' productivity will decline if they don't feel safe at work. Poor workplace safety could be due to unsafe work practices or serious unaddressed safety hazards.

How to Improve Employee Productivity

Being an employer, your primary objective should be to improve the working conditions of your office so that you can restore maximum employee productivity. We've listed some promising ways that can help you make your workplace a safe and healthy place for employees.

Replace Office Furniture

The first thing you should consider is replacing your office furniture with ergonomic varieties like ergonomic work desks and chairs. Ergonomic furniture offers superior support to the body and reduces strain, reducing the risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and related complaints. The employees are able to work in greater comfort. When employees are comfortable at work and don’t experience pain from sitting for long hours in an incorrect posture, they're able to focus on work better and deliver higher-quality results.

Ensure Office Cleanliness and Hygiene

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are more conscious about workplace hygiene than ever before. Ensuring your office is clean can make your employees feel safe at work, and you'll notice they perform better. Make it a point to have your workplace cleaned and sanitized several times every day.

Improve Office Lighting

Improving office lighting will also have a positive effect on employee productivity. Dim lighting can make employees feel dull and gloomy and, therefore, less productive. Bright lighting can cause eye strain and lead to headaches, reducing productivity. Ensure your office design features large windows to allow natural light to enter your office during the day. As for the evening hours, ensure your office is adequately lit, that is, neither too dim nor too bright.

Offer Flexibility

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, you can't tell your employees remote working isn't possible because that's how you operated for approximately 2 years. If you don't allow your employees to work some days of the week remotely and offer no flexibility, their productivity will decrease. To improve employee productivity, provide them as much flexibility as you can without hurting your business. You'll be amazed to see the difference in employee productivity!

Mitigate Safety Hazards

Making employees feel safe at work will improve their productivity. Conduct a risk analysis and identify all the safety hazards like scattered wires, slippery floors, absence of handrails on the staircases, etc. and take the necessary steps to mitigate these risks. Install cable organizers like the Cable Management Tray CMP502 around the office so that all the cables are neatly organized and aren't lying around the office which can cause trip accidents. Have anti-slip mats around your office, especially at points where the possibility of slipping is the highest like near the washrooms and kitchen. These steps may seem insignificant right now, but the difference they'll make isn't so insignificant.

Have a Proper Reward Program

Design a rewards program to reward the best-performing employees regularly. The rewards can be as small as appreciation emails, certificates, or cash vouchers, or they could be bigger, like a company-sponsored holiday, etc. The idea is to make employees feel their efforts aren't going unnoticed. This will make them want to work harder and better!

Revisit Your Processes

As we said earlier, there's always room for improvement when it comes to processes. Revisit your office processes every now and then and make necessary changes. Taking input from the employees will also help. The more efficient the processes are, the higher will be the employee productivity.

Closing Words

Most of the time, it's the poor working conditions that cause employee productivity to decline. Making some basic changes and upgradation to your workplace can make a massive difference! At the end of the day, the employees are your backbone, and their well-being and comfort should be your priority!