A Survey of Physical Working Conditions and their Effects on Productivity of Secretaries


This chapter reviews literature on physical working conditions in offices and their effects on the secretarial workers productivity. The researcher reviewed some journal, textbook and seminar papers on physical working conditions and their effects on productivity. The major emphasis was laid on secretarial workers. The review is discussed under the following headings:    

  1. Physical working conditions in offices.
  2. Effects of physical working conditions on the productivity of the secretary.
  3. Summary of related literature.


       It is not enough for an office to be properly located and laid out; it is also highly necessary to ensure that good physical conditions are provided and at the same time well maintained. Where the appropriate physical conditions are lacking, work performance has been very poor. If the office has poor lighting, work is most in accurate, if the ventilation is poor, staff are most unhappy, and if the office is noisy, mistakes are abound. Good office therefore must have the appropriate physical cooking conditions necessary for effective office work.

The location of the office is an essential decision that must be taken by the office managers. It must borne in mind that the environment of the office can facilitate or ruin business. The office must be near enough to the customers, transport facilities, mail facilities hotels and banks ie the proximity to facilitates. White head (2000) said “it is better to choose a location which represents the best possible site for the purpose of the business concerned.

Elendu, (2001) recognized this fact by recommending organizations to have a good office plan, because it will utilized the efficiency performance of an office functions. Work can only flow when planning of office layout has been determined.


Ventilation has become a big problem in any office where it is neglected. Such office is too hot and stuffy that work slows down and causes faulty performance. A good ventilation ensures that there is a constant flow of fresh air to remove staleness without causing draughts. Ventilation is got chiefly by windows, while artificial ventilation is got by the use of electric funs and air-conditioners. It is recognize that good working conditions raise productivity.

Office Space:

The office space is another physical working condition required in the office for effective work performance. This factor determines the furniture, size and arrangement in the office. There should be enough space in an office for free movement while on duty. When an office is properly spaced, it makes work performance effective. Brian Jackson (2002: 174) said that if designing the office facility is not done previously. It makes economic sense to retain professional help for the design phase. Secure top managements approval of cost content before proceeding with each of the successive steps that follow. Dickson (2000) also sad that space should be allowed round all equipment in commercial use such as filing cabinets photocopiers, printers as well as others.

Office Lighting:

Office lighting is so important that work cannot be carried on effectively without it. Where the lighting is poor, it causes eye strain to the workers and consequently they produce inferior quality work. The daylight and warm white colours of light are always used in the offices because they do not cause any glane to the workers eyes.

Office furniture:

Furniture is another physical working condition which employers should endeavour to provide for the secretary’s efficiency. Good tables, desks, chairs, file cabinets etc. This is necessary because when a secretary is comfortable in an office, efficiency and job satisfaction follows. Every carrier associated with office technology and management or in any other office need chairs revolve. These chairs enable them to attend to both their workers and visitors without getting up from their seals. Durability should be a match – word when making choice of the office furniture.


Noise Reduction Devices:

Noise can be external or internal. Noise we must understand affects the efficiency of the average office workers. When noise is deadened in the office through any device, errors are reduced the volume of work increased and its quality also improved. It has been proved that staff enjoy better health in quiet environment. Noise in the office is caused by machines, telephone calls, noise made by hard floors and furniture, conversations, foot steps and door slamming.     


Office must be kept tidy always. Joy is derived from working in a clean environment because cleanliness they say is next to Godliness general well – being of workers together with neatness and accuracy of work.

Office Equipment

Performance of secretarial functions requires use of modern equipment such as computers, telephone, teleprompters. Tele communication, Dictating machine, Desktop dictation machine etc. Majority of the employers do not pay altension to matters concern office equipment but are extremely profit conscious. It is assumed that difference is as a result of lack of exposure, labour exploitation or absolute emotional indifference to work conditions of workers. But when there is provision of basic office equipments the sky will be works/duties. Provision of office equipment enhances productivity and as such indispensable.


Decoration in the office refers to the walls, ceilings, floor coverings, furniture, equipments etc, painting on the walls, ceilings and so on is essential for it is said a colourful decoration is a source of happiness to the office workers conditions on the productivity of a secretary, there must be due consideration because of its effect on productivity of the secretaries.


The unfavourable physical conditions in offices could have different effects on the secretary’s productivity.

Location of An Office:

  1. The choice of an office location has a profound effect on the entire life of an organization. A bad choice may all but guarantee failure, a good choice success. The location of an office is a very important issue for use to consider as it can be one of the most expensive and the costs of relocating can be prohibitive.

Many would become so excited about new office that they fail to invest the necessary time in finding the right location. But as a company’s image and its location are closely tired, finding the right place to set up the office can be critical to you success. The location of an office should be given enough attention by considering a better site that will be suitable to the workers. It has to be criteria because there are private sector business organization, public sector corporations, local and central government courts of law and may other bodies.

Today, a room is describe as where clerical processes are carried out to start, develop and control many activities of a business. Every single organization has its very centre of an office which gives life to the whole organization. Before making all important choice of an office location, you consider where the location will be how the area looks like, by putting your workers in consideration and making an office to be conducive by providing all the necessary equipments in the office.


The secretary is the image of every organization because of the excellent roles they play. Therefore, the reputation of an organization to the public and clients will depend on the efficiency of the secretary in the performance of her duties. The performance of clerical work suffers, if the physical working conditions and below standard and the regulations contained in this act are, therefore, very vital for efficient office administration. However, the secretary’s productivity level with regards to the performance of their duties in dependent on the availability of these physical working conditions.

Many firms have realized the necessity of providing a good and conducive physical working conditions. Whitehead acknowledges this fact by saying that many employers not only meet these elementary conditions but recognized that good physical working condition raise productivity. These physical working conditions could summarily be traced to adequate lighting and ventilation, furniture and furnishing, cleanliness to mentions but a few safety measures and fire precautions are also in the act. The provision of these facilities for a secretary is essential for efficiency job satisfaction, full concentration, excellence better productivity and proper discharge of duty. But where it is lacking, the physical working condition can result to truancy, initiation and disconcentration, speed of epidemics, in efficiency, health hazards etc. Therefore, it is very important that employees should try as much as possible to provide these physical working conditions which will ginger the moral of the secretaries and the entire staff.

In conclusion, it also has effects on the client opinion of the establishment which reduces or promotes the image of an establishment to the outside world. Elendu O. (2000; 1-8) said that it is not enough for an office to be properly located and laid out; it is also highly necessary to ensure that good physical conditions are provided and at the same time well maintained.

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