The exploration into the impact of flexible working hours on employee performance, motivation and personal life for women at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
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With the economic downturn and competitive markets existent in the world, organisations do face challenges and organisations in South Africa are no exception. Observation has been made with regard to organisations facing difficulties in terms of staff turnover due to unhappy and unsatisfied employees. One of the strategies to address this was the introduction of flexible working hours for staff. This study intended to examine this concept of flexible working hours with a focus on female employees. Over the past decade, more women have joined the labour force and in many cases, women have also become the primary breadwinners within their respective households and in turn having to manage all household issues. It is hence becoming a common occurrence for women to prioritise their work over their personal and family life. As a result, women encounter conflict between work and their personal lives that can lead to stress, ill-health and demotivation and in turn contribute to low productivity, absenteeism and staff turnover. Flexible working hours has been shown to promote various benefits such as improved morale, positive attitude towards work, greater job engagement and lower rates of stress and fatigue among others Whilst this is shown in other countries, namely developed countries, minimal research on the subject context exists in South Africa. Therefore, this study aimed to address this gap and examined the impact of flexible working hours on employee performance, motivation and personal life among women (as employees) at a large tertiary institution known as the University of KwaZulu-Natal. A quantitative approach was employed and a census method was used with the target population being all female staff working at the university. A quantitative questionnaire was used as the primary data collection instrument which was electronically distributed and 125 participants responded to the survey. The study was underpinned by the Schein (1988) Organisational Culture theory. Analyses included reliability, frequency, chi-square and correlation analyses. Results holistically show that flexible working hours for female employees can improve productivity and also have a positive influence on employee morale and retention. It can further enhance personal and family life for female employees which in turn boosts motivation and performance. This in turn enhances workplace culture. The study was subject to certain limitations. Recommendations include Human Resource strategy re-alignment, management support, policy change and institutional and legislation level and the effective use of technology.