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6 Different Work Environment Types and Example Career Roles

June 9, 2021

This article has been approved by an Indeed Career Coach


To feel satisfied and be productive in your career, your working environment must suit your personality type. Professional environments should provide a positive atmosphere marked by effective communication, adequate resources and opportunities for career development. They should also be conducive to the type of worker you are, your personality and values. In this article, we provide an overview of six different work environments and the kind of people and jobs that are best suited to each.

What type of work environment do you prefer?

The term “work environment” refers to a culmination of many different factors and elements that together characterize your work conditions. Elements that make up your work environment include:

Hours

Your work environment includes your working hours. For instance, your job may be the regular nine-to-five type or it may have more flexible job hours. Moreover, you could be paid for overtime work and/or have lunch breaks. 

Company culture

A company’s culture is also part of a work environment. For instance, some companies have a formal culture and expect workers to dress in suitable work attire and follow strict protocols, whereas others allow employees to dress more casually and grant them more freedom in the execution of their duties.

Benefits

Your work environment also includes benefits, such as the amount of paid holiday time you receive, as well as sick leave.

People

Managers and coworkers play a huge role in determining the type of work environment. Positive and happy people create a supportive and positive work environment, whereas negative and self-centered people tend to create toxic workspaces.

Career development

Another important factor that contributes to your work environment is to what extent you can grow as a professional in your job. Some companies afford their personnel many opportunities for career development, whereas other companies may expect you to take responsibility for your own professional growth.

Workspace

Your workspace is also part of your work environment and may range from an office cubicle, a private office space or working remotely from home.

Different kinds of work environments

Your work environment is also influenced by your values, your personality type and the kind of work that you do. Here are six different work environment types that suit different kinds of people and occupations:

1. The conventional work environment

The conventional work environment is highly-structured and organized, and includes systematic activities, such as working with data and numbers. This kind of environment is characterized by routine, stability, tradition and well-defined rules and procedures. People who gravitate to this environment are typically neat, well-organized and prefer to follow directions. This work environment typically involves working in an office and regular hours. An occupation that is well-suited to the convention work environment is:

National average salary: $14.42 per hour

Primary duties: A receptionist, also known as an administrative assistant, performs administrative duties, such as filing, answering phone calls, emailing and faxing, maintaining records, and organizing courier services. As these professionals normally work at the front-office desk of a company, they also greet and assist customers, and therefore need to act professionally and politely at all times. This work requires organizational, communication and computer skills. Receptionists typically work a normal 40-hour week and rarely work overtime.

2. The enterprising work environment

The enterprising work environment is focused on the achievement of organizational and financial goals and typically includes activities like persuasion, management and sales. Such an environment is characterized by competition, achievement, power, money and competition and may involve activities like sales and management.

People who thrive in this kind of work environment are normally outgoing, ambitious and assertive. This work environment includes working in a corporate or business environment or working in the retail industry. A job that is compatible with this environment is:

National average salary: $74,194 per year

Primary duties: A sales manager leads the sales team of an organization. Their duties include setting sales targets, hiring new sales staff, planning sales strategies, mentoring and training staff, preparing budgets and controlling expenditures. As sales managers need to not only work with their teams but also with other departments–for instance, marketing, as well as clients and suppliers–they need good interpersonal, leadership and communication skills.

3. The social work environment

The social work environment is people-focused and involves activities that revolve around teaching, guiding, healing and understanding people. As this social work environment involves a lot of social interaction, it attracts people who enjoy social interaction and are motivated by helping others.

To do well in such an environment, you need to have excellent communication, verbal and interpersonal skills. This kind of environment may include working in an office, doing fieldwork, consulting with clients, teaching at a school or college or working in a hospital. A job that falls into this category is:

National average salary:  $57,579 per year

Primary duties: Social workers assist people and communities who face challenges in their everyday lives, such as unemployment, abuse, poverty, addiction or divorce. They assess the needs and situations of clients and then develop and monitor plans and strategies to help these people cope and overcome their challenges. In the case of, for instance, a child-abuse case, a social worker may also intervene and organize for the child to be removed and placed under foster care.

These professionals need good interpersonal and communication skills, as well as empathy and emotional intelligence. Social workers can work in office environments, at schools or they may visit clients and communities.

4. The artistic work environment

The artistic work environment is unsystematic and emphasizes freedom of expression, creativity, aesthetics, imagination and originality. This environment is characterized by freedom and lack of structure and rules. People who are drawn to this kind of environment are normally unconventional, free-spirited, intuitive and self-directed. This work environment may involve theater productions, music performance, design work, writing, and the creation of art. An example of a job that falls into this category is:

National average salary:  $15.87 per hour

Primary duties: Fashion designers are creative people who study fashion trends and create their own clothing or accessories. Their work entails sketching new designs and then creating the first prototypes, which involves pattern-making, selecting fabrics, sewing and fitting. If they work independently, fashion designers also need to market their creations by, for instance, organizing runway shows and showcasing their work on websites and social media.

These professionals need to be creative, think visually and must have a flair for fashion. They may work for manufacturing firms and have regular hours, or for themselves, which requires long hours and the ability to market themselves and their designs.

5. The investigative environment

The investigative environment is focused on math and science and involves problem-solving and creative and abstract thinking. As is the case with the artistic work environment, this environment is unstructured and encourages independence and freedom of thought and action.

People who do well in such an environment are innovative thinkers who prefer working with their minds rather than engaging in practical and physical tasks. This environment includes working in laboratories; computer programming; doing statistical, science or mathematical work and archeology. An example of a job in this category is:

National average salary:  $80,887 per year

Primary duties: Research scientists conduct experiments and do research in a specific scientific field like medical, environmental, food or biological sciences. Their work also involves writing papers, building research proposals and working together with other researchers in developing end products. These professionals need excellent analytical, interpersonal and writing skills. They may work for environmental organizations, government laboratories, universities and pharmaceutical companies and they may work in laboratories, and do field and computer work.

6. The realistic environment

The realistic environment is focused on manual work that involves using tools, instruments and instruments and could also involve animals, plants and working outdoors. People who enjoy working with their hands and focusing on the present, do well in this environment. This environment includes mechanic, engineering and technical jobs that could involve working on-site, in workshops or doing call-out work. An example of a job in this environment is:

National average salary:  $25.36 per hour

Primary duties: A plumber installs and repairs plumbing systems and accessories. Their daily duties include also providing on-site troubleshooting and laying pipe connections and drainage systems according to water distribution system plans. This job can be physically demanding, so plumbers need strength and dexterity. Other skills include customer-service, analytical and problem-solving skills. These professionals can work for plumbing companies or they may run their own businesses, which may involve more irregular working hours.

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