Home » Careers » Types of Work Environments (The Most Common)

Types of Work Environments (The Most Common)

The physical space 

Are you trying to figure out which type of working environment you would thrive in? Choosing the right type of job and career path are very important decisions; however, it is also important to find the general working environment that is likely to be best for you.

These days, many employees have a certain amount of say in where and even when they work. Therefore, it is important to take the time to figure out what your working style is and where you would be most productive. 

So, let’s take a look at some of the most common types of work environments.

Take a Look ↓↓↓

What Makes Up A Work Environment

The work environment is composed of a wide range of both physical and non-physical elements. When deciding on the best environment for you, it is important to take all of these elements into account. Here are the most significant ones that make up the work environment. 

The physical space 

The physical space 

The size of the area you work in can make a big difference to your peace of mind. Some people are perfectly happy working in a tiny cubicle, while others prefer open-plan offices. Alternatively, you may find that you need the privacy of your own office to be able to focus properly. 

Indoors or outdoors

While some people love the comfort of an office, other people hate working indoors. In some cases, the work may involve working indoors in a large factory or outside on a construction site. Other jobs involve a combination of indoor and outdoor environments as well as a certain amount of travel.


This includes all the equipment and furniture that is necessary to do the work, such as desks and computers. Some companies provide extra facilities that improve the quality of life for their employees. These can include coffee machines, gardens to unwind in, on-site fitness areas, and comfortable seating. 

The Company Culture

While this can be difficult to define, it normally relates to the company’s values and the overall atmosphere. The company culture dictates the way that employees are expected to behave and the company’s priorities. Insights into the culture of a company can be seen in its mission and vision statements.

Some companies put the highest emphasis on personal goals and excellence. While the atmosphere in these companies can be very productive, employees tend to be quite isolated. Conversely, the atmosphere in companies that value collaboration tends to be much more vibrant and enjoyable.

Safety protocols

Safety protocols

Every company has certain safety protocols in place that all employees are expected to follow. In high-risk environments like construction sites and factories, these safety protocols are usually strictly enforced. Safety protocols can dictate the clothing that employees have to wear, their behavior, and their general approach to work.

The working hours 

While traditional office hours are from nine to five, many companies offer employees flexible shifts to accommodate their personal lives. Some companies may offer employees the chance to start earlier or later and finish earlier or later, depending on their needs. 

These days, many companies support remote working and flexi-time, which can make some employees more productive. The opportunity for overtime can also be ideal for employees who want to earn a higher salary.

Social interactions 

Social interactions 

The rules dictating social interaction and the way they are enforced can have a big impact on the work environment. In some companies, employees are encouraged to work closely together and act as a family. These environments can be very friendly and positive and can lead to enhanced productivity.

However, in some companies, employees are discouraged from talking to each other and even penalized for it. While this is established to drive higher productivity, it can actually have the opposite effect. Employees who are not allowed to interact for several hours at a time can start to feel unhappy and even depressed. This can have a negative impact on the work environment, and work can suffer as a result.

Performance feedback protocols

If you have your sights set on advancing through a company, this can be a very important element. Some companies constantly evaluate the work and progress of their employees. They then use the information to provide periodic feedback and provide either praise or reprimands.

Performance feedback protocols help companies to realize optimum productivity and provide extra training to employees who need it. Some employees thrive on regular feedback and use it as an incentive to strive harder. However, some people find this system oppressive and demeaning, and it may reduce their productivity.

Types of Work Environments

When you are applying for a job, you need to consider the work environment carefully. After all, you will be spending a lot of time each week in this environment. Here are the most common environments that are likely to be found in different types of workplaces. 



This conventional work environment tends to be very conservative, formal, and inflexible. Most employees will work from nine to five and take breaks at a set time. There are strict rules dictating employee dress code, expected goals and targets, and the way employees are expected to behave.

Some people crave structure and perform well in traditional work environments. However, some people prefer flexibility and find this type of work environment to be too rigid and even oppressive.

Open plan offices 

This type of work environment offers a much more modern and flexible style of work and interaction. Instead of being sealed inside individual offices or cubicles, employees are able to interact more easily. The open plan of this environment allows employees to see each other and communicate more easily.

Many employees find that this type of work environment is friendlier and encourages collaboration. However, other people can find that this environment makes it too easy to become distracted. People who prefer to simply focus on their work may find this environment to be less than ideal. 



This type of work environment gives employees more freedom to choose how and when they work. Employees can choose their work schedules and even choose to work remotely if they wish. As long as employees complete set amounts of work and meet goals, they are given much more autonomy.

Many employees find that they are much more productive if they are permitted to take a flexible approach to work. They are able to choose when to take breaks and can work when they are feeling the most productive. However, other employees crave structure and find that they become too easily distracted without strict working however and enforcement.


This work environment is popular among sales and marketing teams in both offices and retail stores. Employees are given strict targets and goals to meet every day and are rewarded for meeting them. There are often financial rewards for meeting goals, while the highest performing employee receives additional rewards.

The basic concept of the competitive work environment is that it encourages each employee to work at the optimum level. This can work well for people who have a strong competitive streak and are motivated by money. However, other people find this type of environment to be very stressful and lead to a lack of motivation.



Many people need a creative work environment in order to thrive. A creative environment tends to be less structured and encourages employees to express themselves. The work hours are often flexible, and employees are given time and space to become inspired.

Examples of creative environments include the theatre, dance studios, and artists’ studios. In many cases, employees who choose a creative work environment are encouraged to collaborate. The main focus is on the creative output, and employees are actively encouraged to share knowledge and ideas. 


This is another type of working environment that is focused on the employees. A collaborative environment is ideal for anyone who needs social interaction in order to flourish. Employees are encouraged to work together to solve complex problems and work on different projects.

However, it is essential to have excellent social skills to succeed in a collaborative environment. You need to be skilled at conflict management and be able to assert yourself. While some people love the sense of teamwork and comradery, others find this work environment to be too distracting.

Hot desking 

This type of work environment has become very popular in recent years and is designed to save companies money. Instead of assigning a single desk or cubicle to certain employees, each cubicle or desk is available to any employee. This gives employees the freedom to choose a different desk on every shift if they wish.

The advantage of hot desking is that it encourages collaboration. Teams who are working together on certain projects can choose desks and cubicles that are close together. They can then move to different parts of the office when they change projects and teams.

Some employees enjoy being able to sit in different parts of the office on different days. However, some employees find the uncertainty of not having their own desk too stressful. It prevents employees from settling into an area of the office and placing personal items on their desk. 

Types of Work Environments – How to Choose the Right Work Environment

By now, you should have a good idea of the type of working environment that would be best for you. When searching for a new job, you need to make sure that the company’s work environment meets your needs. Here are some ways to choose a job that offers the best environment to work in.

Read the job description carefully

Read the job description carefully

The first step is searching the job description for any mention of the work environment. The typical daily tasks will give you a clue to the setting of the work and the company culture. Pay attention to any mention of travel and the set schedule and working hours.

Do your research

Check out the company’s website and social media presence for indications of the company culture. Things to focus on include team building activities and training programs. Also, take a look at the company’s values and make sure they are in line with your own values and goals. 

Contact current and former employees

Linked In is a great place to connect with people who work at the company. This networking site allows you to search for both current and previous employees. They may well be willing to give you honest answers to questions about the work environment that can prove to be very valuable.

Visit the company

Visit the company

If you have an interview at a particular company, it is best to arrive at least thirty minutes early. You can use the extra time to check out the area where you would be working. Pay close attention to the overall atmosphere in the working area and how content employees appear to be. 

Ask questions during the interview

The end of the interview is the perfect time to ask insightful questions about the work environment. The questions you ask will show the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the job. However, it is best to limit yourself to a maximum of five brief questions to help you understand the work environment.

Read through the contract carefully

Once you have received a job offer, you should be given a contract to review. You need to read the contract carefully and make sure that it meets your expectations. The set working hours should be clearly outlined as well as the salary, job requirements, and regulations.

Talk with the Human Resources department

Talk with the Human Resources department

It can be difficult to be candid about your preferred style of working in the interview. However, the human resources department can be a good source of information. You can enquire about the opportunity for working remotely, flexible working hours, and other elements you are interested in.

Want to create the perfect Work Environment?

Then check out the excellent Creating a Healthy Work Environment as well as Principles: Life and Work, both available online in 2023.

Or, to increase your general productivity and ensure your success and happiness at work, it’s well worth taking a look at Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at WorkThe Loudest Duck: Moving Beyond Diversity while Embracing Differences to Achieve Success at Work, and the superb, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work.

Types of Work Environments – Final Thoughts 

The work environment can have a big impact on how productive and content you are at work. These days, there is a huge range of work environments to choose from. While some may allow you to work on your own terms, others may feel more like a jail sentence.

When you are searching for a new job, it is important to consider the work environment carefully. You need to think about how you like to work and your preferred atmosphere. Also, do as much research as possible into different work environments to see which ones appeal to you the most.

All the very best with your career and working in an environment that is perfect for your needs.

5/5 - (69 votes)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Linda Shepard

Linda is employed by one of the biggest employment agencies in San Francisco and has over 15 years of experience in finding her clients their dream job. She prides herself on being able to match the right person to the right position, which inevitably creates a great working relationship for the employee and the company moving forward.

When she isn't writing articles or working, she enjoys gardening, socializing, and going for long walks on the beach and in nature.

She lives with her boyfriend Carl and their cat, Fluffy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top