Effect of workplace recreation on employee wellbeing and performance: a case of the commission for university education (CUE)
Mbaabu, Caroline Muthoni
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Workplace recreation is increasingly gaining popularity as a strategy for improving the well-being and performance of employees in the workplace. The popularity of workplace recreation and its effect on the performance and wellbeing of employees motivated this study. The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of workplace recreation on the well-being and performance of employees at the Commission for University Education (CUE). Existing literature did not address both wellbeing and performance with regards to workplace recreation. The researcher sought to fill this gap by investigating the effect of physical fitness programmes, mental health programmes, and workplace entertainment programmes on both the wellbeing and the performance of employees. Descriptive research design was used. A sample size of 66 personnel was selected from a population of 80. Pre-tested structured questionnaires were then distributed to the sample size. Only 59 questionnaires were filled, representing a response rate of 89%. The responses were coded and analysed using quantitative methods including means, percentages, standard deviations, frequency distributions, Pearson correlation, coefficient of variation, and two-tailed tests. The analyzed results were presented in the form of tables and figures. The findings revealed that physical fitness programmes improved work quality, job performance, productivity, and morale. Mental health programmes lowered stress and anxiety and improved awareness of work stressors, alertness, and mental capability. Lastly, entertainment programmes improved group commitment, team performance and productivity. The results confirmed that fitness, mental health and entertainment in workplace recreation had an effect on employee performance and wellbeing. Correlation tests on the strength and significance of variables’ effects showed that physical fitness and mental health had strong positive correlations with employee performance and wellbeing. On the other hand, workplace entertainment programmes were found to have a less significant effect due to the weak correlations to employee wellbeing and performance. In conclusion, there was disconnect between the participation of employees and the effects of the workplace recreation programmes on their wellbeing and performance. Although slightly more than a majority of employees benefited from the positive effects of workplace recreation, the remaining employees were hindered time, interest, financial costs, facilities, no childcare, distrust in the employer and other priorities. To attract this missing group, the researcher proposes that organizations provide practical solutions for these hindrances such as providing childcare and encouraging managerial support to reduce distrust. This would encourage more employees to take up workforce recreational activities and help them realize the performance and health benefits of these programmes. The study also proposes that organizations evaluate their recreational schedules so that it is not done completely on the employee’s time but on part-company, part-employee time as suggested by the respondents in this study.