Employees feel more satisfied at their workplace when they can work in a conducive and flexible environment. However, major shifts in how people work have happened over the recent years due to COVID-19. When it all began in 2020, several employees found that flexibility in the work environment boosted their quality of life. For many, this involved working under a hybrid model, working from home, or at the very least, getting a more flexible work schedule.
Top employers know employees can be retained effectively when they are taken care of. But how can you keep your employees satisfied and happy? Let’s examine how the workplace environment influences employee engagement and satisfaction.
Impact of Work Environment on Employees
Studies on job satisfaction indicate that positive work conditions motivate employees to do their job well. Work conditions can cover diverse factors – from the office’s cleanliness to the tools and equipment made available to handle the assigned jobs efficiently. Overall, they refer to the environment in which employees complete their daily tasks and include the prevalent culture within the setting as well. When it comes to employee satisfaction, a significant role is played by company culture.
In organizations, toxic culture is one of the most widespread causes triggering high turnover rates. Though company culture is an aspect that’s felt more than it’s seen, it still has a significant impact on retaining employees. Every week, full-time employees spend around 40 to 50 hours in their work environment. Even if you don’t consider the time they invest in commuting to the office, employees spend more time at work daily than they do with their families. This makes creating a positive work environment crucial to keep employees engaged and ensure they work efficiently, are satisfied, and stick to the company in the long run.
When the pandemic forced employees to work remotely, at first, and then in a hybrid model, it opened a world of possibilities for them. Employees were able to be equally productive from the comfort of their homes, could spend more time with their families, and even saved money and time since they didn’t have to commute. This was when they realized what they wanted out of their jobs had changed.
Employees’ Work Preferences
The hybrid work model remains the most popular with most employees, where they have a blend of in-office and remote work. This model gives employees the best of both worlds and is considered the most productive arrangement by both employees and HR. Microsoft’s Work Trend Index published in March 2021 found that 66% of employers worldwide were redesigning their work environments to accommodate hybrid work arrangements better. According to a May 2021 survey by Mercer, a leading HR consulting firm, 70% of companies said they had plans to adopt the hybrid model.
A recent global Cisco study corroborated that the hybrid model has helped boost employee work-life balance, well-being, and performance across the world. Remote work holds the second position when it comes to the most popular choice of work environments. Though switching to a hybrid or remote work environment can be challenging, companies are considerably more likely to retain employees when they accommodate their preferred mode of working and give them the desired level of flexibility.
A 2022 survey by PwC found that employees (45% of the survey respondents) who can’t work remotely reported less job satisfaction than those working in completely remote (63%) or hybrid (50%) work settings. The survey also revealed these employees to be less likely than others to find their jobs satisfying, believe their team is concerned about their well-being, and feel they are reasonably rewarded financially or can be creative in their work. Thus, this survey proves that flexible approaches resonate with today’s workforce.
Why Employers Should Let Their Employees Work Where They Want
A study to identify the drivers triggering the Great Resignation in late 2020 and early 2021 by Limeade found burnout, cited by 40% of employees, as the top reason. If employers offer their employees flexibility in both working hours and work location, they can help employees have better work-life balance and become more productive instead of making them feel stressed and overwhelmed due to their escalating and inconvenient workloads and workplace locations. And if employees are unhappy and dissatisfied, nothing will keep them from searching for better job opportunities and accepting one when they find it.
Employers need to experiment and adapt newer ways to make employees feel satisfied with their workplace and workload. If employees feel they don’t have to give up their personal lives for work, are cared for, and don’t face bias regarding pay and career development opportunities, they will be more eager to commit themselves to their jobs during their work hours, thus contributing significantly to the bottom line. What are your thoughts on the matter?