The effect of office setting on employees performance : a case study of eThekwini Municipality
Mazubane, Nonkululeko Thabisile
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Office setting is a widely acceptable means of providing an enabling environment that best facilitates employees’ performance and general productivity. This study sought to investigate the impact of office setting on employee performance using, eThekwini (KwaZulu-Natal) municipal offices and employees at the Durban City Hall, as a case study. The objectives of the study were to analyse the office design, finishes and furnishings of the head office building of eThekwini municipality and identify features in the design, finishes and furnishings in terms of their suitability and comfort of the employees; assess the impact of office settings on the performance of eThekwini municipality employees at the City Hall; and propose specific settings based interventions that would address employee health, comfort and wellbeing and thereby enhance optimum performance. The study was based on a sample of 65 City Hall staff randomly drawn from various departments and units, as well as 10 senior managers. Data for the study obtained mainly from the administration of questionnaires was analysed quantitatively using SPSS and Microsoft Excel and presented with the aid of frequency distributions, pie charts, tables, pictures and graphs. The research identified considerable office settings deficiencies which included uninspiring and old-fashioned office design and decor (largely cellular offices), use of dark wooden partitions resulting in poorly illuminated offices, and continued use of old furniture at the City Hall. The study also confirmed that the settings deficiencies had varying adverse effects on the performance of City Hall employees by between (20% - 80%). The study recommends the relocation of the City Hall head office to a new modern facility designed and furnished to suit the particular needs of the organisation. The development and operation of a real estate policy that leverages on the workplace environment to attract, retain and boost employee performance has also been recommended.