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The work environment which encompasses several factors impacts the way the employees perform their work. A comfortable and all-inclusive workplace environment will boost the employees’ performance hence boosting the organizational performance.


The objective of the study was to investigate the effect of workplace environment on employee performance in private universities in the case of Higher Institute of Professional Studies (HIPs). In order to achieve this study objective, simple random sampling techniques were used to sample 30 staff from the HIPs university by means of a structured questionnaire.


Collected data was checked, coded, inputted and analyzed in SPSS (21.0) where descriptive statistics, correlation, and regression test was carried out to check the relationship that exists between variables. The results of this study revealed that physical working environment, psychosocial working environment, and work-life balance have an effect on employee performance in Higher Institute of Professional Studies.


Based on the regression analysis, it was found the psychosocial working environment (t-value=8.5579) was the factor that had the highest effect on the performance of employees in HIPs followed by the physical working environment.


From the study findings, it was concluded that for an organization to have a competitive edge over others, it must provide a positive work environment in which all factors that influence employee performance are in tandem with their obligation. Thus, it was recommended that managers should also be counseled on their relationships with their subordinates.






1.1 Background to the study


Any organization’s achievement is strongly linked to its employees ‘ work performance. The quality of the workplace setting of the staff affects their amount of motivation and thus results (Heath, 2006). When staff has the desire to work physically and mentally, they will increase their efficiency (Boles et al., 2004).


They also indicated that having a correct workplace atmosphere helps to reduce the amount of absenteeism and can boost efficiency in the competitive and vibrant company globe of today. The workplace climate in location has a positive and negative impact on the morale, productivity, and commitment of employees (Chandrasekar, 2011).


Due to modifications in several variables such as the social setting, data technology and the flexible manner of organizing job procedures, the variables of the office workers ‘ working setting have altered over the past centuries (Hansun and Makhbul, 2005).


In an effort to motivate workers, firms have implemented a number of practices such as performance-based pay, employment security agreements, practices to help balance work and family as well as various forms of information sharing. In addition to motivation, the worker needs the skills and ability to do their job effectively. For many firms, training the workers have become a necessary input into the performance process.


The factors of the workplace environment that have been determined include job aid, supervisors support or relationship, opportunity to get promoted, performance feedback, goal setting, workplace incentives, mentoring, coaching, and also the physical work environment.


The work environment is the sum of the interrelationship that exists within the employees and the environment in which they work (Kohun, 2002). According to Heath (2006), this environment involves the physical location as well as the immediate surroundings, behavioural, procedures, policies, rules, cultural resources, working relationships, work relations, all of which influence the way employees in their workplace.


The quality of the workplace impacts on employee performance subsequently influences the organization’s competitiveness. Effective workplace management entails making the work environment attractive, comfortable, satisfactory, and motivating employees so as to give the employees a sense of pride and purpose in what they do (Humphries, 2005).


Employees will and are always contented when they feel their immediate environment both physical sensations and emotions are in tandem with their objective (Farh, 2012) and how well employees connect with their organization’s immediate work environment. Workplace environment influence to a great extent the employee error rate level, efficiency, innovativeness, collaboration with their employees, absenteeism, and ultimately their retention.


The type of workplace environment in which employees operate determines whether or not such organizations will prosper (Chandrasekhar, 2011). The physical workplace environment contextualizes the office layout and the design while psychological factors include working conditions, role congruity, and social support from supervisors.


Policies encompass the employment conditions of employees derived from industrial instruments and agreements negotiated with employers and unions along with the human resource policies. Employees spend fifty percent of their lives within an indoor work environment which greatly influences their performance capabilities (Sundstrom, 1994). A better physical workplace environment will boost employee’s performance and ultimately improve their productivity (Challenger, 2000).


Employee performance is the combined results of efforts, ability, and perception of tasks (Platt, 2010). Employee performance is imperative for organizational outcomes and success. The workplace environment stands out as one of the factors that influence the performance of workers. It is the key multi-character factor intended to attain outcomes and has a majority connection with planned objectives of the organization (Sabir et al 2010).


Favourable workplace environment guarantees the well-being of employees as well as enables them to exert themselves to their roles with energy that may translate to higher performance (Taiwo, 2010).


The private sector of Cameroon is characterized by high competition. The growth of many private universities has increased the competitive nature of Cameroon within Africa and the world as a whole. In order to grow, private universities need to embrace strategies of keeping the quality of the workplace high as a competitive strategy.


Since the employees of the private sector are the key resources and as well the greatest expense of any organization, the long-term benefits of a properly designed and user-friendly workplace environment should be factored into initial cost consideration (Smith, 2011).


To continuously improve workplace conditions, special attention to a performance culture that values every single employee and promotes a sustainable work-life balance should be embraced (Wright, 2001). Private Universities have to create a workplace environment where their employees take pleasure in their work, believe, their output is appreciated and rewarded appropriately enabling them to reach their potential.




1.2 Statement of Problem


There are many variables affecting employee efficiency in organizations. The workplace environment plays an essential role in workers’ performance and productivity in any organization (El-Zeiny, 2013). The workplace environment in the majority of organizations is unsafe and unhealthy.


These include poorly designed workstations, unsuitable furniture, lack of ventilation, inappropriate lighting, excessive noise, insufficient safety measures in fire emergencies, and lack of personal protective equipment.  People working in such an environment are prone to occupational diseases and it impacts an employee’s performance. Providing a healthy workplace climate improves organizational employee performance (Shikdar & Shawaqed, 2003).


In addition, psychosocial factors that are the nonphysical aspects of the workplace such as the working conditions, social support from supervisors, role congruity, communication, and reward system also impact negatively on worker’s performance. The organization of work-life is also now a major consideration in the public sector as they attempt to spur exceptionally high performance (Smith, 2010).


To institutionalize the right practices in the work-life balance, the right policies and programs need to be put in place. Inadvertently, an unbalance between workplace environmental factors and employee’s needs, abilities, and expectations are being manifested in different public sectors promoting diverse reactions.


It has been noticed that many enterprises both in the public and private sector fix their persuasion to employee productivity enhancement through the acquisition of skills while research has shown that about 86% of the performance problems reside in the workplace environment of the organization (Taiwo, 2010).


This is the same situation being faced by both the public and private sectors of Cameroon. This notwithstanding, many organizations in Cameroon are experiencing high labour turnover, absenteeism, and huge losses caused by employee negligence due to workplace environmental conditions. This indicates that perhaps other work environment factors are responsible and need to be studied to establish how they influence employee performance.


There is important evidence that productivity advancement in most organizations has not kept pace with the growths developed in the nongovernmental sector (Kilefer and Mendonca, 2006). The difficulty is that encouraging local workers is not an easy task in the midst of a poor working environment (Wright, 2001) and managers cannot do much to resolve the issue because of the organization’s civil status laws.


How local managers can inspire their staff is considered to be one of the big challenges of public management (Behn, 1995). The above situation can adversely affect the productivity of private Universities and for that reason needs immediate attention. It requires a completely diverse method than what was used some years back to retain and motivate workers. Currently, workers’ well-being and confidence are regularly consistent with respect to efficiency in the work environment.


In the private sector, there is cutthroat competition; the employer is faced with the challenge of attracting, retaining, and motivating the employees. These employees are faced with a myriad of problems in relation to their work environment. This is especially in terms of the working hours, mobility at the workplace, and compensation.


In order to reach their organizational peak performance, private tertiary institutions must be able to create a workplace environment where employees are motivated to work. Boles et al. (2004) state that when employees have a physical and emotional desire to work, then their performance shall be increased.


This study is designed to examine the impact of the working environment on employee performance at the Higher Institute of Professional Studies. This is the private institution that operates in Buea with an estimated population of 150 students and 30 academic staff.


The problem identified which made to undergo this research is based on the physical work environment which mostly affects employees’ performance. The institute is located in an area of 0.01 acres which is small compared to the number of students and employees. This resulted in lack of enough offices for employees to do their work effectively, noise which causes discomfort depending on the task they are given and the environment of the place they are working.


It therefore important for employers to know how their work environment impacts greatly the performance level, motivation level, and engagement of the employees both positively and negatively and it may affect largely on both the physical and psychological well-being. Therefore, specifically, this study investigates the effect of the working environment and the performance level of employees in the organization.




1.3 The objective of the Study


1.3.1 Main Objective


To analyze the extent to which the working environment has an effect on employee’s performance in an academic institution


1.3.2 Specific Objectives


To examine the effect of the physical working environment on staffs’ performance at HIPS University

To examine the extent to which psychosocial working environment has an effect on staffs’ performance in HIPS University

To examine the extent to which work-life balance has an effect on the performance of staff in HIPS University.

To suggest measures to improve the working environment in an organization.

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