Background of the study
A key objective of human resource management is to contribute towards the achievement of high level of employee and organization performance (Armstrong, 2005). Hutchinson, Kinnie, Purcell and Boxall (2003) contend that intangible assets such as culture, skill, competence, motivation and social interaction between people and teams are increasingly being seen as a source of strength in enhancing performance. This is evident in those firms which can combine people and processes together. Organizations therefore need to put in place actions which are aimed at ensuring employees maximize their potential at the work place.
As stated by Boxall et al (2003), individual performance is a function of ability, motivation and opportunity (AMO); what they refer to as the fundamentals of employee’s productivity. As part of human resource development, organizations and individuals are slowly appreciating the concept of planning and managing employee recreation.
American Council on Exercise (2000), contends that creating some leisure time in the course of the day allows employees to recharge themselves psychologically and emotionally and this can lead to improved job performance.
There is increased involvement in leisure activities and wellness programmes by companies in a bid to promote employees’ physical and mental health. According to Taylor (2008), the demand for man made additional resources for recreation is greater now than before. Though there are many mushrooming of entertainment and sports clubs, many organizations have invested large sums of money to provide such facilities within the workplace. Kenya Utalii College is one such organization in Kenya that has invested heavily and provides recreation for its employees. Besides being inherently beneficial to employees, such initiatives can make a significant contribution to reducing absenteeism and raising productivity (Cohen, 1999).
Physical work plays a major role in ones life. It is believed to be a life sustenance activity, which in turn poses threat to health due to activities involved.
Wehmeier (2000) described work as something that involves physical or mental effort. There are three (3) classes of workers, mental workers and the physico-mental workers. The purely physical workers are generally “the hewers of wood and drawers of water”. The mental workers are those who achieve results with little or no manual labour, while physico-mental workers comprises of those who combine physical work with mental work for achieving the desire results.
Talabi (1997) further explained that the mental workers include mangers, top executives and people at helm of affairs of the country and big establishments. Their work results in sedentary life, characterized the majority of top executives positions in Nigeria. This results in the mental and emotional stress far in excess of the physical stress, leading to the occurrences of different health problems.
Industries are characterized by long working hours; often late at night and very early morning reporting. Much of the work requires employees to be constantly on their feet and customer interactions can be stressful, as employees may be verbally abused for service problems that are none of their doing and completely out of their control. In addition, many of them have problems maintaining a work-life balance. These factors individually or in combination lead to ill-health, low morale, conflicts and high levels of stress. In an effort to help employees cope with such issues, organizations have invested in workplace recreation. There is evidence that that workplace recreation has a positive effect on employee performance (WHO, 2003).
Workplace physical activity and recreation programmes in USA have helped reduce short-term sick leave (by 32%), health care costs (by 20-55%) and increased productivity (by 52%). However, scanty empirical data is available of the...