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ASSESSING THE PERCEIVED IMPACT OF FLEXIBLE WORKING HOURS ON WORK-LIFE BALANCE IN THE EDUCATIONAL SECTOR IN CAMEROON

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ASSESSING THE PERCEIVED IMPACT OF FLEXIBLE WORKING HOURS ON WORK-LIFE BALANCE IN THE EDUCATIONAL SECTOR IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

The recognition of flexible work hours as an essential aspect of an organization's responsibility to its employees is increasingly widespread. In Cameroon, balancing work and family commitments hasn't always been straightforward. However, the introduction of flexible work hours has facilitated this integration. These flexible arrangements are implemented to meet the diverse needs and expectations of employees. Additionally, they are seen as a strategic tool for employers to address employee stress, enhance performance, and promote job retention (Anderson & Kelliher, 2019). Embracing flexible work arrangements, such as part-time positions, shift work, job sharing, compressed workweeks, telecommuting for nursing mothers, five-day workweeks, sabbaticals, career flexibility, and various leave options, is crucial for the human resources department of any organization, particularly within the educational sector. Beyond that, flexible work schedules are widely considered an innovative practice in human resource management and the education landscape (Saeed and Farooqi, 2018). Flexible working hours are typically supported by knowledgeable, progressive school administrators who are aware of the nuances of a dynamic, international corporate world (Idowu, 2019). Griep et al. (2023) assert that flexible work arrangements, such as altered working hours or leave policies, present an opportunity to reconcile individual needs with those of the business. Some examples of these adjustments include rearranging job roles, providing contract work, part-time or full-time employment options, and introducing other flexible work practices.

According to Jackson & Fransman (2018), a considerable proportion of companies that have adopted flexible work schedules have witnessed a change in their approach towards family-friendliness, since these arrangements are now a crucial part of many family-friendly human resource policies. Flexible work schedules are acknowledged as useful instruments for balancing work obligations with other personal commitments (Aruldoss et al., 2021).

Within the educational sector, there is a mixed level of awareness regarding flexible working policies, and there are instances where requests for such arrangements are declined, particularly among those in leadership roles in educational sector (Eacute and Esteve, 2020). Teachers typically seek flexible working options to achieve better work-life balance and fulfill family or caregiving obligations. Schools stand to benefit from such arrangements by tapping into a wider pool of skills, reducing absenteeism, potentially lowering staff turnover, and aiding in succession planning. The attitude of senior leadership teams in educational institutions (SLTs) significantly impacts teachers' experiences with flexible working. Also, a lack of support from SLTs can hinder teachers from requesting flexible arrangements. Other perceived obstacles include concerns about timetabling complexities, financial implications for the school, potential negative effects on school or student outcomes, and practical constraints faced by the institution (Van et al., 2019) 

Additionally, research indicates that teachers are concerned that choosing part-time work may have a detrimental effect on their pay or career advancement. Some educators consent to informal agreements because they fear that formal flexible working agreements might result in less prospects for progress or compensation reductions. School administrators have even quit in certain instances in order to work more flexibly. 

 Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to  evaluate flexible work policy as a predictor of employees work-life balance in the Ghanaian educational sector.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Teachers are expected to manage larger class sizes while upholding strict standards and organized education because of how quickly society is changing. Teachers now have a far heavier workload than before. Teachers are also responsible for a wide range of administrative duties, such as planning, grading, and attending meetings. They must, however, keep up with the times and adapt to any social or technological developments. Teachers also often have to perform tasks that are outside the scope of their employment. Teachers just don't have enough time to run all the errands outside of the classroom. They are overworked, and job stress and burnout have increased significantly, claim Göksoy and Akdağ (2018).In addition, teachers usually have a heavy workload and a poor work-life balance. 

Nevertheless, the idea of balancing work and personal life has always been important for people who care about their overall well-being and the quality of their work.  However, flexible working hours and work-life balance techniques and policies are necessary to improve employee happiness, organizational commitment, and the harmony of work and personal life (Miryala and Chiluka 2022). Hence, it is in the light of these that the study seeks to  evaluate flexible work policy as a predictor of employees work-life balance in the Ghanaian educational sector.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to evaluate flexible work policy as a predictor of employees work-life balance in the Ghanaian educational sector. Specifically, the study will;

1 .Investigate the existing flexible working policies in selected educational institutions in Ghana.

2. Identify the challenges faced by educational institutions in implementing flexible working policies.

2.Investigate whether there is a significant correlation between flexible working policies and work-life balance.

3.Investigate the perceived impact of flexible working hours on employees work-life balance in selected educational institutions in Ghana.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

What are the current flexible working policies implemented in selected educational institutions in Ghana?

What are the main obstacles encountered by educational institutions when implementing flexible working policies?

Is there a correlation between the implementation of flexible working policies and the improvement of work-life balance?

How do employees perceive the influence of flexible working hours on their work-life balance within selected educational institutions in Ghana?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

Ho: There is no significant impact of flexible work hours on work-life balance in educational sector in Ghana.

Ha: There is a significant impact of flexible work hours on work-life balance in educational sector in Ghana.

1.6 Significance of the Study

Government agencies and policymakers will use research findings to inform labor regulations and policies related to flexible work arrangements. Also, it will empower teachers to advocate for flexible work hours that align with their personal and professional needs, leading to improved job satisfaction, reduced stress, and better work-life balance. Additionally, other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to the evaluation of flexible work policy as a predictor of employees work-life balance in the Ghanaian educational sector.

1.7 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is boarded on the evaluation of flexible work policy as a predictor of employees work-life balance in the Ghanaian educational sector. Empirically, this study will investigate the existing flexible working policies in selected educational institutions in Ghana, identify the challenges faced by educational institutions in implementing flexible working policies, investigate whether there is a significant correlation between flexible working policies and work-life balance and the perceived impact of flexible working hours on employees work-life balance in selected educational institutions in Ghana.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to staff of University of Ghana.

1.8 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed. 

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

1.9 Definition of Terms

Teacher: is someone who imparts knowledge, skills, and guidance to students, typically in an educational setting such as a school or university.

Flexible work hour: refers to an arrangement where employees have the option to adjust their working hours or location to better accommodate personal needs or preferences.

Work-life balance: The equilibrium between a person's obligations in their working life and their personal lives outside of work

Employee: is an individual who works for an organization or company in exchange for compensation, such as a salary or wages.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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