Skip to main content

Will Social or Physical Changes (or both) Improve Your Workplace?

The question for many employers large and small is whether making social changes or physical changes lead to better productivity or lower absenteeism.  Or would a combination of changes have the best outcome?  According to this research, an employer is better served by either making social changes or physical changes - but not the two together.

Here's the report:

Changes targeting the social or physical workplace environment have some positive effects on work-related outcomes —- but at least so far, evidence doesn't support a combination of the two approaches, a new report concludes. 

  • Social changes such as  group motivational interviews led to improved work task performance, while the 
  • physical change such as establishing specific areas for quiet work, meetings, and recreation was associated with employees being more fully concentrated and immersed in work tasks.
Researchers evaluated the effects of changes to the social and physical work environment at a financial services company. Departments were randomly assigned to 
  1. social changes, including group motivational interviews to promote physical activity and relaxation; 
  2. physical changes, such as different workplace zones for quiet work, meetings, and recreation; or 
  3. a combination of social and physical changes.
The study showed some "small but significant" effects on work-related outcomes. 
  1. Social intervention led to improved work task performance, while the 
  2. physical intervention was associated with improved "absorption" (being fully concentrated and immersed in work tasks).
  3. Combined intervention actually had small reductions in job dedication and contextual performance (additional activities that contribute to the organizational environment). 
Suggested reading
Click on image
None of the interventions significantly affected absenteeism or presenteeism (time spent at work with reduced productivity).

There's growing interest in making changes in the work environment to promote employee health and productivity. It has been suggested that combining interventions to alter the social and physical environment might have a greater impact.

But according to these researchers, the social and physical environmental interventions evaluated in the study "demonstrated limited effectiveness" in improving work-related outcomes.  
*  *  *  *  *

Story Source: Jennifer K. Coffeng, Ingrid J. M. Hendriksen, Saskia F. A. Duijts, Jos W. R. Twisk, Willem van Mechelen, C├ęcile R. L. Boot. Effectiveness of a Combined Social and Physical Environmental Intervention on Presenteeism, Absenteeism, Work Performance, and Work Engagement in Office Employees. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2014.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Facts of the Small Business Survival Rate

Back thirty years ago when I first wrote about small business, a hoary and horrible statistic was bandied about, even by some of the most experienced entrepreneurial pros: "80% of new businesses fail in their first five years." 

This "statistic" has appeared in more places than you can imagine, from the leading small business magazines, books, presentations by employees of SBDCs, the SBA, SCORE, Chambers of Commerce, even professors on the college level - who should know better than to quote un-sourced numbers.  It still shows up in small-business blogs today.

For some years, I searched for a source of that statisitic.  Never found where that number came from, leading me to believe that some self-appointed expert made it up.  To quote a character from the popular television show, M*A*S*H, "Horsepucky." 

Here is the truth about the survival rate of new start up businesses in the U.S. economy from two unimpeachable sources, The Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundati…

Earn a Living Shining Shoes. . . Really

Earning a Living as a Bootblack
Can someone make a living shining shoes in today's economy?  At on time there shoe shine boys as they were called were found on street corners across the country, thousands of them.  Many were from poor families and worked to help support themselves and their families.  Today, I found three established shoe shine stands in downtown Seattle, plus two bootblacks, the traditional name of those who shine shoes, working on the streets of Seattle.

Meet George Johnson, age 74 on October 20th, a self-employed operator of a shoe shine stand in downtown Seattle's Rainier Place.  George has been shining shoes for the last sixty years, starting in Arkansas and ending up some thirty years ago at the Washington Athletic club a few blocks from his current location.
"Sixty years," I asked him the day we met.  "You ever think of retiring?"

"Gonna work until I can't do it no more," he replied.  "I don't even think about i…

Illegal Immigrants Start Legal L.L.C.'s, Create Jobs While Awaiting Deportation

The situation is a little like a story from the Twilight Zone.

Illegal immigrants can't get driving licenses, vote, or get benefits, but they are legally able to start Limited Liability Companies often creating jobs for legal U.S. Citizens.  All the while waiting to find out if they are going to be deported because they are, admittedly in most cases, in this country illegally.

It's long established that new immigrants to the U.S. are far more likely to start a business, and in so doing, create jobs often filled by U.S. citizens.  I mean, the sun rises in the East, the sky is blue, and immigrants create jobs - it's that level of certainty.

So why do certain elements in Congress,  allegedly pro-business, pro-growth, and pro-job, scream and yell about immigration as though it's a total drain on the economy?  If anything, immigration has been and will continue to be a boon to our economy, creating both wealth, new jobs and even new industries.

Here's an article from the L…