March 1, 2014
There are a lot of factors that can influence an employee’s satisfaction. They range from everything to how they are treated at work to how they fit the culture of the company. This year Forbes released its own list of how to increase employee satisfaction and included things such as leadership, communication and collaboration. The prevalence of lists such as this demonstrates the realization of industries that employee satisfaction plays a huge role in the overall success of a company, and small business owners, in particular, should pay attention to these factors as they seek to recruit new talent and build up a company culture.
While emphasis is often placed on employees' relationships with others, and certainly this has an influence on satisfaction, not as much attention is drawn to the physical work environment of an office. A new trend in how offices function, known as “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) has the potential to change that. This new system could potentially alter the role of physical space in the workplace.
The American Society of Interior Design conducted a study in which they found that physical workplace design is one of the top three factors that determines satisfaction and performance in an employee. They found that design was made up of several important factors including furniture, noise, flexibility, comfort, communication and more.
In many businesses across the world, the workplace is typically reduced to the cubicle. In this environment, an employee sits at an enclosed desk, separated from the rest of the office, and spends 8 hours a day sitting in his chair. A team of researchers at Cornell University found that this type of work environment stifles productivity. They found that cubicles have an isolating effect which yields unproductive behavior.
How BYOD changes the environment
The BYOD system allows employees to use their own laptops and mobile devices to conduct their work. This eliminates the need for company-wide desktop stations. In switching to a BYOD system, some companies have found the best approach to be letting employees pick their own work station when they come into work. This allows people to develop relationships with other people in the office and experience a slightly different environment each time they come into work. Employees often become dissatisfied as a result of the monotony of doing the same thing day in and day out. A BYOD environment calls for change which can push people out of their daily slumps.
Also, the BYOD system allows for more mobility. Because they can conduct business on their personal devices, employees can interact with clients in real-time and complete tasks even when they are outside the office. Many businesses rely on short turnaround times and seamless interaction. BYOD allows employees to be productive regardless of whether or not they are enclosed in their cubicle space. Whether they are traveling, sick, or just out to lunch, employees can stay connected and stay productive. In effect, the world becomes their office.
In addition to the benefits regarding physical environment, BYOD fosters an environment of trust. Employees feel a greater sense of empowerment as they are able to decide which devices can best perform their required duties. Depending on the company, they may even be allowed greater freedom in deciding how and when they work. They may be able to adjust their hours or work from various locations. While every business is different, BYOD introduces interesting possibilities.
According to one study, employees who use mobile devices for work, in addition to their personal life, end up working an additional 240 more hours per year than those who do not. The reality is that BYOD creates an environment in which employees want to work. It is becoming an increasingly popular way to increase employee satisfaction, and satisfaction always influences the success of a company.
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