Work Environment – Finding the Right Match

Work Smart Not Hard words on ticket to success in career, job or life

By Rose Holland

Do you realize that you spend more of your waking hours at work than home? With this in mind, I believe it is important that you seek an environment that is right for you. You need to assess the type of work environment that will help you thrive and progress.

I am sure many of you have experienced work environments that have been a good fit for you and some that have been a poor match. Understanding what works and does not work for you can help you determine specific qualities you need in your work environment. Have you taken the time to sit down and identified the type of work environment where you will thrive? If not, it is a good time to do so.

There are many things to consider. You might want to ask yourself a series of questions. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers; it is all about what is important for you. Think about where you have thrived and what mix provides you with the best motivation as you go through these questions.

Do you prefer to have clear and direct guidance, general direction, determine your own focus or some combination? Everyone is different and has their own, unique needs when it comes to their relationship with their supervisor. There is a difference between micromanagement and being given clear, detailed direction. There is a difference between being given some direction and no direction or support. What works best for you?

Do you need to be in an environment where you work independently or as a part of a team? While being a team player and working for the best of the organization is expected, not everyone thrives when every task has to be done in a team environment. If you are a severe introvert, you may want to have minimal contact from other team members, while an extrovert may want constant contact with others. What does being part of a team mean to you personally? Does it mean you all work on a project together, collaborate when needed, provide expertise or support to each other or some combination?

Do you need to get out of the office or do you prefer to stay at your workstation? Some people need a regular change of scenery, even if it is a walk down the hall to the break room. Do you need to go and visit other organizations or do you prefer to remain at home base? How much time do you want or need to spend out of the office? If you are a supervisor, do you want to be in the middle of things, up front or out of the way? How much time away from the office do you want or need?

What is the physical layout? Many people forget about this. Being someone with a high need of private space in order to concentrate, this is important. Will cubicles work or do you prefer open space or a private office area or do you need the ability to work remotely? Some people love the ability to connect with their co-workers in an open or cubical environment while others need some private space in order to concentrate on their job.

Work friends or only professional relationships? For some people it is vital that they can be friends with those at work. Others prefer to maintain a separation between work and home. I maintain very strict guidelines on Facebook and do not accept friend request from colleagues, even if I consider them a friend, while we work directly with each other. Others find that odd and openly welcome colleagues into their private world. Do you want a group to go out with occasionally or is it important to keep your personal life private? Know your boundaries.

What hours do you want to work? Are you a 9 to 5 or 7 to 3 type of person? Do you need flexible hours or do you prefer a fixed schedule? Is an hour lunch a must have or would you rather do with 30 minutes and shorten your workday? Do you want to do some (or all) via telework? Do you need to work full time or part time? Will you need to work around your spouse’s schedule in order to avoid the additional cost in childcare or to have transportation? Is it important that you only work while your spouse is working so you can treasure the time you have together?

This often forgotten aspect of your job is important. Write it down and consider this as you seek the perfect position for you. While you may not find the perfect work environment, knowing your preferences can help you manager something that is less than desirable.

What have I missed? Share what is important to you in a work environment.

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