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7 Types of Work Environment

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

1. Conventional

The conventional work environment is formal, conservative and inflexible. Traditional office hours (9 to 5) are in place from Monday to Friday. They tend to have a strict smart dress code and clear guidelines on achieving targets.

Organized people who enjoy working to specific objectives tend to enjoy this work environment. Secretarial and administrative roles working with data often have a traditional work environment.

The hierarchy is likely to be tall with many layers. This work environment has been popular for many years, but nowadays workers tend to want a more flexible work environment.

2. Flexible

This work environment sits at the opposite end of the spectrum than 9 to 5 roles. It allows workers to adapt their hours, work schedules or workspace to suit their preferences. In exchange, they must complete work to a high standard, within agreed timescales.

Employers adopting this approach believe they will get more from staff by allowing them to work in ways that suit them. Self-motivated, driven employees tend to perform well in a flexible environment. People who lack self-discipline would not work as well in this environment.

The flexible work environment tends to have a relaxed hierarchy and work schedules. It aims to offer benefits to both the company and its employees.

The work output is high because the workers are happy and able to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This helps the company attract and retain a talented workforce.

3. Competitive

The competitive work environment is popular with sales teams, retail and start-ups. It is driven by competition, with employees working towards targets. Often, monetary-based rewards or benefits are available to staff and teams that meet their goals.

To flourish in this work environment, employees must be assertive and driven to succeed. This work environment is often seen in real-estate agencies and call centers.

4. Creative

Many career paths in the arts offer a creative work environment.

Creatives such as actors, dancers, designers and artists enjoy an unstructured approach to work. This ensures they can experiment and express themselves.

The nature of their work means they prefer flexible working hours to allow time to reflect and be inspired.

If they are performing in a theatre or show, their hours of work will fall at very specific times.

5. Punitive

In this work environment, motivation techniques are linked to fear of negative consequences if targets are not met. This work environment is often observed in factories.

The employer seeks to increase productivity by scaring or punishing their staff. Poor quality of work and behavior issues are punished, instead of working with the employee to address the root cause.

Achievements usually go unnoticed and employee turnover tends to be high. Most people prefer to steer clear of punitive work environments.

6. Practical

The physical factors of this work environment are defined by the work tasks. Typical job roles include skilled work, for example, plumbing, construction and engineering.

who enjoy physical work or working with their hands prefer practical work environments.

Some practical roles require workers to spend most of the working day outdoors, for example, agricultural work, gardening or building.

7. Collaborative

Job roles in collaborative work environments center around people. They include regular social interaction and attract people who are motivated by helping others. Typical job roles include nursing, teaching, social work and business consultancy.

To thrive in this environment, you will need excellent interpersonal skills and high empathy levels.

Emotional engagement is vital to ensure workers are committed to their work. Due to the human element, this can lead to higher stress levels in collaborative work environments.


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