Poor office accommodation and its impact on workers’ efficiency

Introduction

Sally (2005) defines office as a building containing rooms in which people work. The Longman Dictionary Online (2012) also defines an office as a place where someone stays and work. The office is the service centre of any organization or institution. It is to be noted that no organization can function without an office. It is needed to manage information, records, properties and people. Therefore the office is the nerve centre of any organization (Business Marketing, 2015).

Accommodation is a physical facility for an office it is the building in which the office is housed. It is the space for carrying out office activities. Proper office accommodation is essential for smooth flow of work. Bad location for offices creates inefficiency inconveniences for workers and waste of time and resources (Business Marketing, 2015).

The purpose of office accommodation is to create sound working environment and bring efficiency for both employees and outsiders. Office workers spend a long time in their offices working and as such they need good office accommodations.

Thus we say that poor office accommodation are those office accommodation that are not good and of a quality that is lower than expected to meet the daily needs of workers or employees this could lead to boredom and frustration among employees with the aid of this paper, the following points will be discussed;

  • Cause of poor office accommodations
  • Problems associated with poor office accommodations.
  • The impact of poor offices accommodation on workers efficiency
  • Standard of offices and it required facilities
  • Benefits of standard office accommodations and its enormous

 Types of office accommodation (building)

Office buildings or accommodations are generally classified into one of the following types or categories; type A, type B and type C. each of the types varies in relation to its counter parts.

 Type A (office building)

These types of office building represent the newest and highest quality building in their market. They are generally the best looking building infrastructure. They are also well located, have a good access and are professionally manage as a result of this they attract the highest quality worker and also made with durable materials. This type of office building meets up with 100% of public health requirements (Aibor & Olorunda, 2006).

 Type B (office building)

This is next in line to type A office building. These building or accommodations are generally a little older but still have good quality management, they are sited on a good soil and are constructed with strong imperious materials type B office posses 75% of all the requirement of type A office building, it requires some little amendment and provision to make them the standard of type A office building (accommodation) (Aibor & Olorunda 2006).

 Type C (office building)

This is the lowest classification of office building and space these buildings are older and are built in less described areas and are often in need of extensive renovation. Architecturally these buildings are the least desirable and the building infrastructure and technology is outdated. They are constructed with basically mild materials (Barbor, 2009).

Causes of poor office accommodations

Below are some of the causes of poor office accommodations;

  • Lack of planning or poor planning:

This accounts for poor construction of offices and 85% of problems associated with poor office accommodations. Majority of offices are not planned for beforehand, which includes taking  cognizance  of the soil the building is to be sited on (i.e. whether it is water logged or not) as well as appropriate personnel’s for adequate planning e.g. environmental health officers (EHO), town planners etc. (Erutase, 2013)

  • Attitudes of workers:

Most workers show an “I don’t care” attitudes to the office accommodation and its adjourning surrounding, and facilities therein because it is not theirs but belongs to the government. This thus results in misuse of office accommodations and lack of care for the facilities.

  • Lack of supervision:

Lack of supervision of office accommodation when under construction by appropriate bodies is another problem facing poor office accommodations e.g. the supervision of a health officer to ensure the input of basic facilities could ensure a sanitary condition but if not would result in neglect of these basic sanitary facilities (Cumura, 2011).

  • Provision of inadequate office accommodation for workers:

Shortage of offices to accommodate all workers in an organization can result in overcrowding, suffocation and spread of contagious disease, moral delinquency and impairment of aesthetic value of the office accommodation (Osuide, 2004).

Problems associated with poor office accommodation:

According to Lyster (2003), the problems associated with office environment (accommodation) include the following:

Overcrowding:

The issue of overcrowding is a common problem in both developed and developing countries of the world today and an office is overcrowded with many workers working in it and sharing the limited space as they attend to visitors and outsiders it could lead to sustainability and proliferation of sporadic outbreak of air bone disease e.g. tuberculosis, whooping cough etc.

 Poor lighting:

Poor lighting in office buildings occurs as a result of lack of light within the building. It could be due to ill-functioning light and people experiencing such light deprivation are likely to experience depression, annoyance etc. it also results in eye strain, accident, in human error rate (Bradford 2002).

Poor ventilation:

Poor ventilation has resulted to a lot of hazards in offices. It leads to presence of mould and mildew which is formed on walls and objects as a result of warm wet air caused by lack of free movement of air. This occurs as a result of poor planning and architectural design.

Most office accommodations are built without even showing consideration to either through or cross ventilations and most offices are constructed with one window and rarely two which are not adequate and do not permit free flow of air into office accommodations (Dan, 2008).

According to the Public Health Law (2006) section 21 item 1 and 2 every room shall have at least one window in one wall opening directly to the external air and the total area of the window or window of any one room clear of the frame shall be canal to at least one eight of the floor area of the room.

 Dilapidated wall:

This is the tearing of wall in which some outside can see through. This tearing occurs as a result of construction with substandard materials which reduces the aesthetic values of the office building and is also a threat to lives and properties of worker n such offices with dilapidated walls (Festus, 2009).

Broken floor:

When durable materials are not used in making floor of the building it tends to break easily and cause dust and harbor dents on the floor, this could lead to accident and injury of workers in such office accommodations.

 Leaky roof:

A leaky roof is usually caused by a localized damage such as cracks or shakes on a flat roof. This results from using inadequate roofing materials when roofing is not properly done (Erutase, 2013). Leaky roof can result to flooding and destruction of properties in the office accommodations. It could go as far as ruining the entire interior of an office accommodation.

Drainage system:

One of the most common and disconcerting of all these problems is poor surface drain. This is a problem that may exist from the start. The majority of office premises lacks surface drains while others have drain but are not functional which could result in flooding of the whole office premises (Obomeokpere, 2014).

 The impact of poor accommodation on workers efficiency:

According to Park (2011), the following are the impact of poor office building/ accommodations which in turn has negative impact on the efficiency of workers.

Respiratory infections:

A poor office accommodation when ill-ventilated and overcrowding could lead to suffocation as well as some contagious infections as tuberculosis, influenza, bronchitis etc. workers who suffer from these tends to spend more time taking care of their health and thus loose their joy of going to their jobs thus causing a drastic reduction in their efficiency.

Accidents/injury:

Accidents and injury tend to occur within the office environment when the office accommodation is in poor condition such as cracked walls, broken floors which affects the health of workers thereby resulting in morbidity and sometimes mortality in complicated causes thus reducing the efficiency  (performance level of workers) ( Susan, 2003).

 Psychological effects:

Susan (2003) stated that on every aspect of life (mental, physical, emotional, social and economic) living in any poor building can have negative impact on workers.

When an individual works in a non-conducive or poor office accommodation he/she is affected psychologically in that the deteriorating conditions around him/her causes irritation, annoyance, high temper, mental unrest, behavioral disorder which affects how the individual relates and carry out his/her work.

 Standard of office accommodations/its required facilities:

Standard of building design:

The architectural design of the office accommodation should be workers friendly and not pose any danger to them. The materials used for the building should be of adequate standard, durable, fire resistant and not pose any danger to health (Erutase, 2013).

Standard of office occupancy level:

Depending on the nature of time spend in the offices the number of workers and also the amount of work done should determine the space of the office. As shown in the table below.

 Table 1: Per-Person Standard of Office Accommodation

Employees with Individual Offices Employees Requiring Cubicle Employees Open Area Other Office Area Requirement.
President (400

sq.ft)

Vice-president (200sq.ft)

Managers (150 sq.ft).

 

Secretaries(125sq.ft)

Customer service reps

(125sq.ft).

Accountants(150sq.ft)

Engineers (175sq.ft)

Programmers (125sq.ft).

Data Entry(125sq.ft)

Clerks(125sq.ft)

Temporary workers

(100sq.ft)

Reception Area(100sq.ft + 10 sq.ft

Per –person waiting)

Conference room(50sq.ft +25sq.ft per person seated)

File room(200sq.ft

Storage room or library (200sq.ft).

(Source: Office Space Standard, 2009).

 Sanitary facilities:

Office washroom:

Minimum scale of provision of sanitary facilities for workers for workers toilet in offices, shops, factories and other non-domestic premises used as work place.

 Table 2: Minimum requirements for both male and female office toilets

Sex No of Persons at Work No of WC’S No of Wash Hal (Urinals for Males)
M 1-15 1 1
F 1-5 1 1
M 16-30 2 1
F 6-15 2 2
M 31-45 2 2
F 16-30 3 3
M 46-60 3 2
F 31-45 4 4
M 61-75 3 3
F 46-60 5 5
M 76-90 4 3
F 61-75 6 6
M 91-100 4 4
F 76-90 7 7
F 91-100 8 8

 Note: for Male above 100 persons require 4 plus 1 wc and wash basin for every unit or fraction of a unit of so persons. While female above 100 persons requires 8 plus 1 wc and wash basin for every unit or fraction of 25 persons.

(Source: Work Place Health Safety and Welfare, 2013).

 Water supply: there should be adequate amount of safe drinking water for drinking and cleaning exercise of office premises.

Refuse: A sanitary waste bin should be provided at various strategic spots for the collection and disposal of refuse promptly.

Office food station: A stationary cafeteria should be provided for workers to eat healthy and hygiene meals during their lunch breaks. This station must be sanitary and include a self-close door (Federal Ministry of Health) (FMH, 2005).

Benefits of standard or adequate office accommodations:

Stanley (2008) stated that the possible benefits from standard office accommodations for workers include;

  1. Prevention of diseases e.g. tuberculosis, measles etc. thus increasing the amount of time workers put in their jobs.
  2. It results in Health promotion for workers and longevity of their life span.
  3. It creates an enabling environment for workers to carry out their jobs efficiently in a relaxed conducive environment.
  4. It improves the moral way of life of workers.
  5. It helps in the reduction of hazards e.g. fire hazards
  6. It increases the general performance level of workers because “Health is Wealth” and a healthy worker can do his/her job as required by the organization with which he/she is working.

 Summary

In summary this paper presents an analysis of poor office accommodations which was defined by Sally (2005) as any office accommodation that are not good and of a quality that is lower than expected to meet the daily needs of workers or employees thus could lead to boredom and frustration among workers. The type of office accommodation e.g. type A, B, C causes of poor office accommodations, the impact of poor office accommodations, the standard and the benefits of proper office standards in that it enhances what the overall efficiency of workers.

 Conclusion

In conclusion, standard office accommodations greatly increase the efficiency of workers on the other hand poor office accommodation affect the health of workers negatively and decreases their overall efficiency. Thus it is important that all organizations understands the importance of standard offices in other to contribute to the input of workers and to ensure safe environment for all workers and outsiders who visit such work places.

 Recommendations

  • Proper attention should be given to planning of building at the initial stage to avoid the use of substandard materials.
  • Adequate facilities should be put in place e.g. sanitary facilities such as toilet accommodation wholesome, water supply etc.
  • Adequate incentive should be given to workers in safety and how to manage office facilities.
  • Appropriate PPE should be given to workers working in stations requiring them.
  • There should be proper supervision of buildings by an EHO.
  • Already existing offices should be renovated to meet the required standard of office accommodations.

References

Aibor, M. S. & Olorunda, J. O. (2008). A Technical Handbook of Environmental Health in 21st Century for Professionals and Students. Lagos: Divine Favour Press.

Business Marketing (2015). The Office Quality. Retrieved on 2nd September, 2015 from http://businessmarketing.com

Bradford, O. (2002). Regulation and Specification of Standard of Living. Benin City: BHB Press.

Dan, F. (2008). Air Conditioning and Healing. Lagos: Adis Press.

Erutase, J. (2013). Lecture Note on Building Construction. Ofuoma – Ughelli: Delta State College of Health Technology (Unpublished)

Festus, S. (2009). A Hand book Building Sanitation (2nd ed.) Port Harcourt: Pantmatary Prints.

HSE, (2013). Work Place Health, Safety and Welfare. Lagos: HSE Press.

Longman Dictionary Online (2012). Definition of Offices Retrieved on 31st August  2015 from http://longmandictionaryonline.com.

Lyster, K. (2003) Building Sanitation and its Effect, Paper Presentation at Imperial College, London, August 23rd

Office Space Standard, (2009). Per-person Office Occupancy Level. Retrieved on 2nd October, 2015 from http://officespacestandard.com.

Obomeokpere, N. O. (2011) Lecture Note on House to House Inspection. College of Health Technology Ofuoma – Ughelli  (Unpublished).

Sally. W. (2005), Advanced Oxford Learners Dictionary (7th ed.). London: Oxford University Press.

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