The term ‘work environment’ is known to explain the environmental conditions in which an employee perform different tasks. The work environment can be of physical conditions such as, workplace temperature, workplace equipment tools such as- personal computer systems, etc. it can also be related to the factors such as work processes or work protocols. Work environment also involves the social communication at workplace, including interactions with peers, subordinated and high authority. Generally, now a days employees are working in an environment which is free from harassment. A hostile work environment exists when misleading sexual conduct interferes with an employee’s job performance.
A healthy work environments is always free from obstacles related with sick building syndrome, which occurs due to poor ventilation or off- gassing of chemical used during construction of the building. The accumulation of molds and mildew may also leads to sick building syndrome. A healthy work environment is ideal when it comes to maintaining a positive results in a stressful situation. Most important thing that influences the employee’s motivation and happiness and how productive/ efficient they can be, that all depends the working environment of an organization. Healthy environment is good for the organization as their employees can have good quality of performance and also it reduces absenteeism, turnover, worker’s compensation and medical claims.
According to Kerke (2010), stated that making a safe environment of an organization is very important. This does not only means that the organization should start avoiding accidents but it means that they should discourage any type of unhealthy and unsafe means. Every organization should adopt work place safety as it regular feature and should follow it in a serious way. In order to make sure about the safety at work place, an organization, who provides their employees with safety, should conduct safety meetings
Jones in 2010 defined, that in many work place, employees are subjected to different sorts of threat to their health and safety. These threats depends on the type of tasks an employee is performing. These certain hazards, which exist in almost all organizations, if proper safety measures are not taken into consideration. Certain fields where these hazards are bound to occure, if safety measures are not in place are- chemical hazards, task design, environmental hazards, workstations design, equipment design, etc. Apart from these types of hazards many other physical hazards are also present which is relate to temperature, light, ventilation, etc. can also occur if proper precautions are not taken. In some organizations, code of conducts and staff practices may also create certain sort of psychological hazards for the employees within the organization.
What is Healthy work Environment?
Healthy does not only means that needing a medical attention, it can also be the overlook of the workplace environment. There are four aspects to look into when creating a healthy work environment:
- Working culture for an employee,
- Physical environment and occupational health and safety,
- Health and lifestyle practice,
- Supportive work environment.
There are some of the ways that the organization can create a work environment healthy, they are as follows:
- Promote wellness- Employers should encourage the organization on health and wellness of employees by conducting- a weekly exercise program such as a yoga sessions or zumba sessions before they start with their work day or an aerobics class after work. This not only encourages a healthy lifestyle among the team but also give them an opportunity to get to know their teammates in a better way.
- Engaging with different personalities- Every workplace has a combination of personalities and what works to motivate a particular employee, may not necessarily help others. Get to know about the employees and find out whether a hands- on approach or more independence will help them or not.
- Fair employee and policy- This should apply to all the employees of organization regardless of their positions or designation. If a supervisor constantly miss the deadlines, employees should take it as seriously as would with a junior employee or with an intern.
- Team building activities- Team building activities not only bring employee close but also motivates them, it creates a positive working environment. These activities can helps to improve internal communication and productivity, boosts morale at the workplace and tries to help employees to get to know with each other better.
- Clean and comfortable environment- Working in a clean and comfortable environment can have very positive effects on the interactions with the colleagues. Even if the organization does not get proper sunlight, higher authority management should try to make an effort to give a relaxing atmosphere with comfortable furniture and working equipment.
Rudolf Moos had defined the factors which determines the environment of a work place in an organization are-
- Involvement- The extent to which employees are concerned and honest with their job. If employees are able to involve with themselves in the tasks, are tend have high productivity and successful than others.
- Peer cohesion- This factor shows that how supportive and friendly employees are with each other. The level of adjustment, interpersonal relations are to be observed.
- Supervisor’s support- The extent to which management is supportive with their staff members and also encourages to be supportive of each other. Employees to become a support system of each other and work as a team.
- Autonomy- This dimension shows that how much employees are encouraged to be self- sufficient and to make their own decisions. It enhances the decision making power in employees.
- Task orientation- The emphasis of this factor is on making good planning, efficiency and getting their job done. It improves the dedication level of employees towards their tasks in an organization.
- Work pressure- Work pressure factor measures the degree to which the press of work and time urgency dominates the job/ organization milieu.
- Clarity- This shows the extent to which employees know what to expect in their daily routine and how explicitly rules and policies are communicated. Communication channel should be transparent and clear. Misunderstanding can lead to the loss of the organization and even if can affect the job of the employee.
- Control- This factor shows that how much management uses the rules of organization and pressures to keep the employees under control.
- Innovation- The emphasis of innovation is on variety and creativity of employees. It focuses on the change and adapting new approaches to make the environment better for the employees.
- Physical comfort- The goal of this factor is to make the physical surroundings contribute to a pleasant work environment. Organization should give a basic and necessary resource to work comfortably and become productive.
A flow state, is also known as ‘colloquially as being in the zone’, it is a mental state of in which an individual performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of fully focus, carries full involvement and enjoyment in the duration of the activity. Flow is characterized by complete absorption in what a person performs and resulting no awarness in person’s sense of space and time. Flow was given by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in the year 1975, the concept has been widely referred to across a variety of fields.
“A state in which individual is so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that they will continue to do it even at the great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975).
The flow experience carries many characteristics with hyper- focus. However, hyper- focus is not always shown in a positive light while taking about flow experience. Some examples may include- people may be spending ‘too much’ time while they playing a game or watching their favourite movie and getting side- tracked and pleasurably absorbed by one aspect of an assignment or task to the detriment of overall assignment. In some cases, hyper- focus can ‘capture’ a person, perhaps causing them to appear unfocused or to start several tasks, but able to complete few one.
Csikszentmihalyi had found six factors as it encompasses an experience of flow while performing any tasks-
- Immense and focused concentration on the present time/ stimulus,
- Merging of action and awareness,
- A loss of reflective with self- consciousness,
- A sense of one’s control over the situation or any activity,
- A distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective experience of time is altered and lastly,
- Experiencing any task as intrinsically rewarding, also referred to as autotelic experience.
Flow is one of the eight mental states that can have process during the learning anything which Csikszentmuhalyi stated in the concept of flow experience of a person. In addition to flow, these mental states includes- anxiety, apathy, arousal, boredom, control, relaxation and worry. Which results when an individual learns, they experiences a combination of skills and challenge levels of a task in non- optimal combinations. Flow is the most optimal of the states for learning (“Optimal states results when there is order in consciousness”- M. Csikszentmihalyi), as it is where the skills and challenges of any work are at their highest peak. This creates an opportunity for an individual to learn and have intense focus, where learners can even fell that they had lost their track of time because they are so busy in the task. In contrast, a learner may experience relaxation in learning any kind of work when their skill level is very high equally the task challenge is very low. An individual can experience flow in any of the task and in any field of activity like from writing to music, dancing to painting.
Flow experience are predicted which can lead towards the positive affect as-well-as to better the quality of performance among the staff in an organization. The experiences which one faces at the time of flow, are as followed:
- A complete involvement in what employees are doing- staying focused and concentrated.
- Greater inner clarity- knowing what are important, what needs to be done and how well employees are performing their give tasks.
- Knowing that the activity is do-able- the skills are adequate to perform any tasks.
- A sense of serenity- no worries about themself and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego of an individual.
- Timelessness- being immense focused on the present and performing better for future.
For experiencing the state of flow which can be differ from an individual to individual. Different individual has different capacity to experience flow. Some of the studies had shown that a person who carries an autotelic personality tends to experience flow at many times, such people tend to do things for their own sake rather than chasing and depending upon some distant external goals (Ullen et al., 2012).
Flow Experience in a Workplace Organization
Conditions of flow experience, is defined as ‘it is a state in which skills and challenges are equally matched for the employees within the organization’. This plays an important role in an organization, because the flow experience is correlated with the achievement and its development that can have concrete implications in enhancing the satisfaction from workplace and accomplishment. Flow researches such as Csikszentmihalyi, believed that some of the intervention plans may be performed to enhance and increase flow in an organization, through which employees can develop an ‘intrinsic rewards’ that encourages them to become persistent and provide benefits.
Csikszentmihalyi had also focused on finding certain activities and environments that can be matched with the flow experience and then identifying and developing the personal characteristics to increase or maintain the flow level. Workplace can also improve morale by developing the sense of greater accomplishment and happiness, which can be correlated with increased performance level and quality of performance by the employees for the organization. Csikszentmihalyi included “good work” in which he explained that when an individual is an employee then, ‘they enjoys doing the best while at the same time contributing to something beyond themselves.’ Employers and employees, both can make an environment that facilitate good work and quality work in organization.
Csikszentmihalyi given following three condition where a person can achieve flow experience-
- Clear and long- term goals,
- Immediate feedback and
- A balance between opportunity and capacity.
He discussed that with increased experiences of flow, employee’s experience are “growth towards complexity.” Individual flourish and open themselves as their achievements grow wider and with that, comes the development of increasing “emotional, cognitive and social complexity.”
There are, however, some of the barriers for achieving the flow state in work place organization. Csikszentmihalyi argued the very first reason that flow does not occur is that- the goals of one’s job are not clear. He told that while some tasks at work place may fit into a larger, organization plan, the individual worker may not visualize where their individual tasks fits in. The second reason of barriers to flow is having limited feedback about one’s work which can decrease the motivation and also leaves the employee unaware of whether they did a good job or not. When there is no such proper communication of feedback, an employee may not be assigned tasks that challenges them or seems to be important, which could potentially prevent an opportunity for flow.