What makes a “good” workplace?


istock-38893246When you enter a “good” workplace for the first time it often feels well-looked after, although it may not be a new building. The people in the workplace are likely to acknowledge you and take an interest in why you are there, although they may not be in a receptionist role. When you talk with them you feel their sense of connection with the organisation.

Entering the work area there is evidence that human spaces and factors are important here, with or without bean bags and bicycles. The environment might have the right amount of lighting, ergonomic furniture that looks both strong and comfortable enough to support the characteristics of different users, and there will probably be a variety of setups that seems to match the variety of people and tasks. The chances are that people here will be working productively and be engaged in a variety of tasks throughout the day.

Work site areas will have orderly storage systems and delineated spaces that allow people to function safely in for example, more industrial environments. Organisation rules and procedures will support individuals to adjust some tasks to their own physical requirements while respecting the need for compliance.

The organisation is likely to provide opportunities for its people to be active during the day, and spaces for them to work both individually and collaboratively.

From the feeling you had when you first walked in, to seeing people who have individualised their own workplace ergonomic setups, to evidence of organisational awareness of the important elements that people need in order to work well, to a pro-active safety culture, there is something about this workplace that sets it apart. It is probably not just a happy coincidence that the workforce here is engaged and productive, but much more likely to be the result of a conscious decision by management to value the wellbeing of its people and so increase the value of the organisation.

There are many ways in which your business or organisation can become a good place to work. It doesn’t have to involve large amounts of money or restructuring. The workers themselves often hold the keys to improving their own workplace health and wellbeing outcomes. Return on investment in workplace ergonomics, design and wellbeing is now well-established and we know that a happy workplace is a productive one. Even if you don’t use a bean bag.

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