The term work environment is used to describe the surrounding conditions in which an employee operates. The work environment can be composed of physical conditions, such as office temperature, or equipment, such as personal computers. It can also be related to factors such as work processes or procedures.
The work environment can involve the social interactions at the workplace, including interactions with peers, subordinates, and managers. Generally, and within limits, employees are entitled to a work environment that is free from harassment. A hostile work environment exists when unwelcome sexual conduct interferes with an employee's job performance, or creates a hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment.
The term work environment can also be associated with the physical condition of the building. Healthy work environments will be free from problems associated with sick building syndrome, which is often due to poor ventilation or off-gassing of chemicals used during construction. The accumulation of molds and mildew may also lead to sick building syndrome.