An attribute is a trait that influences how an employee conducts business for the company. Sometimes these traits have nothing to do with the work itself and instead pertain to the social atmosphere or attitude of the management team. Although the law mandates employers provide certain attributes such as a working environment free from discrimination and harassment, the management team has control over the formation of other attributes.
A workplace attribute is the ease and opportunity of a flexible work schedule. Mobility affects how an employee checks in with the office, from what location and from which device. For instance, a telecommuter might email her supervisor in the morning, phone in over lunch and drop off a report midday. Although such flexibility has the possibility of boosting worker productivity through constant accessibility and reduced overhead costs on account of needing less space and fewer supplies, increased mobility has potential drawbacks, too. Jonathan Beaverstock, author of “International Business Travel in the Global Economy,” warns how mobility can create weak social ties and lead to the disintegration of corporate culture.
Encouragement and Support
Employees desire a supportive management team. Support consists of being recognized for a strong performance, providing clear instructions and expectations, quelling conflict and offering directions. This attribute also pertains to coworkers — collaborative work environments include supportive employees who mentor and foster each other’s growth. This type of environment is fostered by instilling an attitude of teamwork and the ability to take risks. When encouragement and support are absent, a cutthroat, corrupt culture can arise. Christina Garsten, author of “Ethical Dilemmas in Management,” explains how Enron was one such company whose attributes of cutthroat competition and shortcuts led to its demise.
Workplaces exude traits of serious professionalism or a laid-back, casual attitude. Where the company falls on this spectrum determines attributes pertaining to dress code, office interior and perks. Casual workplaces permit employees to wear jeans and T-shirts; the break room includes ping-pong tables and board games. Some offices allow workers to bring pets to work. Strict office environments mandate business suits and have a sleek, sterile aesthetic. These traits, in turn, influence the attitudes of workers and how they communicate with each other.
Workplace attributes have a noticeable effect on job satisfaction. Christine Williams, author of “Gender and Sexuality in the Workplace,” explains that white women tend to have the highest rates of job satisfaction on account of support from management and coworkers. Williams explains these intangible attributes of support and community can, for women, trump less desirable attributes of less prestige, reduced pay and less autonomy. The information also reveals different groups place different priorities on workplace characteristics.