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Workplace Environment and Facilities Surveys

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How a Workplace Environment and Facilities Survey Can Help Your Organization Meet its Compliance, Culture, and Productivity Goals

The average person spends one-third of their life at work. That’s more than 90,000 hours, or, in another way of looking at the balance, 50 percent of the time you spend awake. The working environment and the facilities that make them up should be safe, functional, and to the extent possible, a pleasant place to spend that significant portion of your life.

How are your employees feeling about their workplace environment? Are they happy? Would you know if they weren’t (honestly)? Too often, managers, supervisors, and leadership don’t realize that an employee is unhappy until they leave. If the only chance an employee has to air grievances and report concerns without fear of repercussions is during an exit interview or exit survey, this disconnection should come as no surprise.

Business leaders checking out the workplace environment

In this article, we’ll discuss how a workplace environment and facilities survey can help your organization identify latent issues and ultimately meet its compliance, culture, and productivity goals. Let’s dive in.

Goal 1: Compliance with Federal, State, Local and Industry Regulations

Your organization is legally required to comply with the health, safety, and environmental regulations applicable to your industry and the geographic location(s) of your worksites.  Depending on the regulations applicable to you, non-compliance can be a huge disruption, especially if identified by OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an agency of the United States Department of Labor). Non-compliance can at times mean severe penalties, business shutdown, potential legal action, and irreparable damage to your organization’s reputation within the community and the industry.

When you administer a workplace environment and facilities survey amongst your workforce at regular intervals, you can get ahead of your duty to identify areas where the organization may fall short of compliance standards. The alerts you receive from the answers provided in regular surveys allow you to consistently take timely corrective action. When administered correctly, these surveys can also help document your attempts to uncover even latent concerns within the workplace and its facilities.

Here are just a few of the flags you might find when you might find when you administer a workplace safety and facilities survey:  

  • safety hazards that your employees haven’t reported or are unsure of whether to report
  • issues identified by employees who can’t communicate concerns to their managers or supervisors for a range of reasons, including fear of repercussions or language barriers
  • instances of faulty or unreliable equipment
  • poor lighting, noise control, or ventilation
  • lack of understanding of emergency procedures, fire escapes, or other emergency protocol
  • health concerns
  • ergonomic inefficiencies that may be leading to absenteeism and health issues
  • barriers to accessibility for employees with disabilities
  • environmental impact concerns, including issues with waste management and energy efficiency

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Best practices, tips for success, and what to do with all that data!

Goal 2: A Positive Workplace Culture That Drives Morale Instead of Dampening It

Maintaining or transforming the workplace environment and the facilities that make them up into a place that your employees truly enjoy and can be productive in should be the aim of every employer. An individual’s physical environment is critical to their morale, and higher employee morale is correlated to all kinds of critical success metrics for an organization—from tenure length, attrition and turnover, to productivity and profitability. Overtime, these metrics make up a bigger picture: a positive workplace culture, which is essential for your organization’s success long term.

A workplace environment and facilities survey will provide insights into how your team members perceive their work environment. It will also identify areas that need improvement, and help you focus in on where your efforts and resources are best spent in improving the workplace environment.

These types of surveys aren’t just helpful for industrial or manufacturing workplaces; rather, they can be incredibly useful for office settings, too. This sentiment is especially true for employers seeking to jump start their return to office initiatives and usher back in a strong in-office culture.

Even the physical layout of an office can have a big impact on all of the metrics we’ve discussed in this post—like morale, satisfaction, and productivity—but also on your team’s ability to communicate and collaborate effectively. Your workplace environment and facilities survey might uncover a strong preference for open-plan office spaces, a lack of availability of areas to host private meetings or take client calls, or other critical issues that are keeping employees out of the office.

Goal 3: The Ultimate Goal: Sustainable Productivity that Boosts Your Bottom Line

Of all the metrics we’ve discussed in this post, productivity may be the most critical indicator of organizational success, and it’s one that translates across all industries. To get to the heart of deciphering and correcting the ways in which your workplace environment and facilities may be hindering employee productivity, it’s important to start with the opinions and insights of your employees themselves.

As you’re putting together the first workplace environment and facilities survey you’ll administer to jump start your improvement initiatives, know that you can rely on modern employee survey software to take the guess work out of survey content design, administration, and data analysis.

The questions you include in your workplace environment and facilities survey will be unique to your organization, industry, operations, worksites, and employees. But it’s always a good idea to review some strong sample workplace safety survey questions in order to start getting the gears moving.

Consider the following workplace environment and facilities survey sample questions:

Workplace Environment Survey Questions:

  • Do you feel that your workplace environment is safe?
  • Do you feel that your workplace environment is pleasant?
  • Do you feel that your workplace environment promotes a positive culture?
  • Do you feel that your workplace environment promotes collaboration and communication among your team members?
  • Does your workplace environment provide with you adequate privacy when you need to complete confidential or quiet tasks, such as taking phone calls?
  • Does your workplace environment promote social interaction?
  • Do you feel comfortable reporting discomfort within your workplace environment to your managers, supervisors, or leadership?
  • Do you feel that your feedback on the workplace environment is taken seriously and acted upon?
  • Are you satisfied with the overall cleanliness and maintenance of the workplace?
  • What improvements would you suggest to enhance the workplace environment and facilities?

Workplace Safety Compliance Survey Questions:

  • Do you feel that the workplace or its facilities pose safety risks that have not been addressed?
  • If you are required to work off-site, do you feel that the off-site working locations and facilities are safe?
  • Do you feel that you are able to report compliance concerns or safety risks without the fear of backlash or retaliation?
  • Please identify any safety risks you are aware of within the workplace environment or facilities.

Office Ergonomics Survey Questions:

  • Does the set-up of the workplace or its facilities cause you physical pain during or after your job?
  • Does your workplace and its facilities have adequate lighting for you to effectively complete your job duties?
  • Does your workplace and its facilities have appropriate noise levels?
  • Does your workplace and its facilities have adequate ventilation?

Now is a better time than ever to take a closer look at the environment of your workplace and its facilities. Are they safe, pleasant places to work? Sometimes, you don’t know until you ask—and your employees themselves are always the best first source of feedback.

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