The Efficacy of Wellness Programmes as Work-Life Balance Strategies in the South African Public Service
Abstract: This paper aimed to evaluate the wellness programs adopted by the South African Public Service to ascertain their efficacy at addressing work-family challenges and aiding employees to achieve work-life balance. Understanding the effectiveness of wellness programmes as work-life balance strategies is necessary especially when the cost of implementing such strategies is considered exorbitant. Many institutions have put in place work-life balance strategies, but discrepancies concerning definitions, formulation and implementation could make it impossible for them to fully reduce work-family challenges and assist employees in achieving the envisaged work-life balance. A sequential transformative mixed-methods study design was adopted. Data was collected using self-report questionnaire administered to 307 individual managers. Additionally, 11 top management members were interviewed. The major findings are as follows; (a) significant relationship exists between the wellness programmes and work-life balance strategies (b) wellness programmes qualified to be addressed only as life strategies because they did not address work challenges faced by employees. (c) work-life balance strategies predicted only 7.1% of the variations in wellness programmes in the South African Public Service. The peculiarity and value of this article lies in the discovery that work and life balance strategies adopted by organisations may not address employee work and life challenges and assist them in achieving work-life balance. Summarily, wellness programmes are not work-life balance strategies, and the South African Public Service should endeavour to adopt strategies that could assist employees in balancing work and family needs.
Keywords: Wellness Programmes, Work-Life Balance Strategies, Work-family challenges, Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs)
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