1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The score of today’s business is seriously widening and becoming dynamic challenging sophisticated and highly competitive for any establishment to cope with the demanding nature of modern business and eventually accomplish its set objectives, it must practice art of scientific management. This means that managers of these business establishments must have insight or vision which will enable them plan and work towards achieving its economic objectives using all available resources effectively or efficiently.
The managers accomplishment of these objectives is a demanding task. The manager will require the services of someone who will help him to achieve or accomplish this great task which is the services of a secretary.
According to Elendu, O. (2001) it is necessary to refer to definition given earlier and adopted by the national – Secretaries Association Missouri, USA which says that the secretary is an assistant to an executive, possessing mastery of office skills and ability to assume responsibility without direct supervision, who displays initiative, exercises judgment, and makes decision within the scope of her authority.
According to Okolo (2009) a secretary is a person who directly assists the chairman in the conduct of the meeting. The secretary is in charge of the secretariat and is responsible for all the secretariat functions of the meeting.
According to White Head (1979) a secretary is one who must act as the alter ego of the chief executive. The secretary must be able to render such services as desired by the chief executive and also assist him to realize the organizational goals based on competence and efficiency.
The secretary plays essential role in any establishment/office. This means that a secretary must be a person of high responsibility and even qualified by training experience and temperament to perform these essential duties.
A secretary being able to carry out his/her duties perfectly, physical working condition is mandatory to provide. It is so because these help to make secretaries comfortable. Physical working condition according to 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 condition are provided and at the same time will maintained, while Obasi Oko (1994: 950) enumerated them as orientation of the building, cleanliness of the office furniture and fittings. Physical working conditions and those things which is in an office that makes a worker to work for a long time without getting distracted and tired. The provision of adequate, attractive and conducive physical working conditions in the offices is of utmost importance. The manager should try to make the working condition comfortable and attractive.
The nature of the physical working conditions influences the performance of the secretaries in a greater way. If the office is not comfortable of conducive, it affects the job performance of secretaries, her mood and productivity. But a comfortable environment makes the secretary to be excited and enhances his/her performance and productivity.
In any office there should be maximum use of certain working conditions like lighting, ventilation, computers and others. Effective use of doors, windows, rents and skylights will save eyes, improve work and health, and it reduces the cost of lighting, heating and air condition. Base on these the provision of proper physical working condition in the office is sine qua non, if the productivity of the secretary is to be guaranteed.
This study is therefore aimed at finding out the extent to which the provision and lack of any of these physical working conditions have influenced and affected the secretary’s performance and productivity.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
The challenge of these modern office and the resultant challenge posed on the secretaries in the office and job holders have made the practice of secretariat functions too demanding and tasking. With poor physical working conditions there is usually disconformental fatigue and poor health, with its consequentes on productivity.
Lack of adequate and proper physical working conditions in offices the secretary’s morale depressed resulting to lack of job satisfaction, sabotage and performance. In an office, lack of performance of the secretary will surely disorganize the entire system in the business for the organization.
Some people have ability to concentrate in the face of distraction but whether a person has this ability or not, it is the duty of an employer to make adequate provision for his staff, an environment conducive to work in order to enhance job performance and productivity. Absence of these physical working conditions in an office have made secretaries resort to truancy, lateness, indifference, absenteeism and the consequential rate of labour turnover of the secretaries.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The major objective or purpose of this study is to determine the physical working conditions in offices and their effects on the productivity of secretaries in some business establishments.
i. To identify the major physical working conditions in offices and its level of availability in those establishment.
ii. To identify the problems associated with lack of these physical working conditions.
iii. To prefer solutions aimed at solving these problems and make recommendations.
iv. To determine the extent to which the physical working conditions in offices affect the productivity of the secretary especially in those selected establishments.
This study is intended to highlight the major physical working conditions that should be present in offices. It will exposes the factors responsible for lack of these physical working conditions in offices and its resultant effects on the performance of the secretaries.
This study will suggest the various ways establishments and employees of labour could follow to provide these essential physical working condition for the secretary in order to ensure maximum serve as a reference material to other students and reachers who may embark on similar research in future.
The researcher emerged the result of covering all the country and decided to limit the investigations to some selected establishments in Enugu urban.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This study is intended to identify the following:
1. What are the major physical working conditions in offices and the level of availability in those establishments?
2. What are the problems caused by inadequate physical working conditions?
3. To what extent do these physical working conditions influence your productivity?
4. What do you think are the possible solutions to these problems?
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
PHYSICAL CONDITION: These facilities and conveniences in the work place that without distraction and fatigue that work can be done efficiently.
PRODUCTIVITY: The amount of production in relation to labour employed.
SECRETARY: An executive assistant who possesses a mastering of office skill without direct supervision, exercises initiative judgement and makes decisions with the scope of his assigned authority.
ENVIRONMENT: The surrounding conditions of an employee, which influences his work.
ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS: Targets or designed objective, which an organization aimed to achieve.