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 situation in developing world (WHO, 2003).
Reduction of such kinds of avoidable costs is potentially important, especially in the developing countries such as Nigeria as it would lead to higher employee performance. Some companies have established workplace recreation in a bid to provide leisure and meet employee welfare requirements.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The study of Tijani and Enyiorji (2006) revealed that staff of the First Bank of Nigeria Plc for instance, go to work early and close late, from Monday to Friday. Moreover, the weekend leisure has also been affected adversely, with the introduction of Saturday banking, leaving the worker with Sunday, which some of the workers use for worship. Worse still, is the monetization of the staff’s annual leave, which in general makes it difficult if not impossible for the staff to undertake leisure activities.
Research efforts of Ajayi (2002) and Fadoju (2004) also revealed that stress appears to be a common phenomenon in every life’s endeavour and the antidote to this phenomenon is regular participation in exercise and recreational activities. In the light of this, it is however necessary to investigate the roles played by recreation on workers of Stanmark and Cocoa Company, because it has been observed that due to the nature of their job, they are subjected to stressful conditions, which eventually wreck a lot of havoc on their health. Therefore, this research project focuses on examining the perceived influence of recreation on productivity of Stanmark and Cocoa Company Ile-Oluji.
1)Will Job Satisfaction be a significant influence of recreation on productivity of Stanmark and Cocoa Company workers? 2)Will quality of Service and customer satisfaction be a significant influence of recreation on productivity of Stanmark and Cocoa Company workers? 3)Will improvement of healthy Life Style be a significant influence of recreation on productivity of Stanmark and Cocoa Company workers? 4)Will strengthening of relationships among the workers be a significant influence of recreation on productivity of Stanmark and Cocoa Company workers? 5)Will improvement of self esteem of the workers be a significant influence of recreation on productivity of Stanmark and Cocoa Company workers?
1)Job Satisfaction will not be a significant influence of recreation on productivity of Stanmark and Cocoa Company workers? 2)Quality of Service and customer satisfaction will not be a significant influence of recreation on productivity of Stanmark and Cocoa Company workers? 3)Improvement of healthy Life Style will not be a significant influence of recreation on productivity of Stanmark and Cocoa Company workers? 4)Strengthening of relationships among the workers will not be a significant influence of recreation on productivity of Stanmark and Cocoa Company workers? 5)Improvement of self esteem of the workers will not be a significant influence of recreation on productivity of Stanmark and Cocoa Company workers?
Significance of the Study
The result of this study will educate company administrators on how to use recreational programmes as vanguard for the promotion of productivity in their companies. It would also serve as an eye opener for the administrators, on the need to necessarily incorporate recreational programmes, into the programmes of the companies in order to further enhance productivity. The recommendation of this research project, when published, would enlighten the authorities of companies, on how to encourage their workers, to actively engage in recreational programmes for the purpose of bringing about productivity in their companies.
The results of this study would serve as baseline data for other studies in this area. More so, the result of this research project would add more to the existing pool of knowledge and also reinforce companies’ authority in sorting plans and programmes through their sports committee in their distinctive efforts to mount recreational programmes that will promote productivity in their companies. Hence, the study will create awareness among company, industry, factory workers and general public of values derivable from recreation.
Delimitations of the study
This research project is delimited to the examination of the perceived influence of recreation on productivity of Stanmark and Cocoa Company, Ile-Oluji. The study participants consist of workers in Stanmark and Cocoa Company, Ile-Oluji.
Limitations to the study
This research is limited to Stanmark and Cocoa Company, Ile-Oluji owning to time factor. Some respondents delayed the questionnaire while some did not even return the copies of the questionnaire. Also, some respondents responses to the questionnaire did not supply the high percentage of correct information which would have given the true picture of the impact of recreation on productivity.
Definition of Terms
The under listed terminologies were utilized in the course of the project and they constitute meanings peculiar to the context of the project. 1.Recreation : This is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The “need to do something for recreation” seems to be an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be “fun”. The term recreation implies participation to be healthy refreshing mind and body.
2.Productivity: This is the state in which a greater output is achieved in a short time without any decline or depreciation in the quality of work. On the other hand, it infers to a quality or state or being productive, increased efficiency and the rate at which goods and services are produced and the conditions of an increased output. This situation can be influenced by the extent and quality of its resources of land capital and labor.
The consequences of low productivity among workers on their company in addition to the national economy of the USA (Pfeiffer, 1998), posed a major problem for company managers, who came to the conclusion that an increase in productivity cannot be achieved without the introduction of new incentives for their employees. One of the incentives was the establishment of sports and recreation programs, aimed at the increase in the employees’ effectiveness (Bates, McClusky, Bernard & Gieske, 1998). The first companies offering sports and recreation activities to their employees appeared in the USA in late sixties (Shephard, 1986). Baun & Baun (1984), report that more than 50,000 American companies offer sports and recreation activities to their employees and there are more than 3,000 consultants active in this field.
The employers focus was to improve their employees’ state of health, which in turn would reduce expenses and the increase profit for their companies (Wanzel, 1994). The improvement of the employees’ health through the establishment of sports and recreation programs resulted in profits that were sometimes bigger than expected (Cardinal, Cardinal, Drabbs, Krause, Maddalozzo, Martin, Melville & Singleton, 1998). The productivity of workers increased while, the expenses for medical care were reduced. In addition, the relationship between the employer and the employees improved. Consequently there were fewer strikes and accidents at work, faster recuperation of sick employees, and product and service improvement (Kaman, 1987).
Although at the beginning these programs were only a privilege for high-ranking employees, the employers soon realized that the introduction of sports and recreation facilities for all workers would result in an increase of production and reduce expenses (Blair, Pirerchia, Wilbur & Crowder, 1986). According to Bertera (1990a), in companies that have adopted sports and recreation programs, employees are up to 18% less frequently absent from work. According to Pfeiffer (1998), employees who participate in such programs are more favorable towards their employers and high-ranking employees. Shephard (1989) also claimed that participation in these programs improves the image of the companies, which made use of them, thus creating a greater demand for them by job seekers. Shephard (1986) also stresses the productivity of companies, which adopted sports programs increased by 7%.
According to Danielson & Danielson, (1982), and Shephard, (1986), every dollar spent on sports programs for the employees by their company, resulted in a profit of up to $5. The employees of those companies, too, profited by participating in the sports and recreation programs. More precisely, there were fewer cases of heart diseases, high and low blood pressure as well as obesity, and cholesterol problems were reduced (Bertera, 1991). There was also less tension and stress, compared to employees who did not participate in sports and recreation programs (Bertera, 1990b). Moreover, they tended to consume less alcohol and smoked less, while hypertension at work declined (Meyers & Donham, 1982).
Sports and recreation programs gave companies better results when they were included in a broader scheme, which focused on the benefits of employees (Kronenfeld, Jackson, Blair, Davis, Gimarc, Salisbury, Maysey & McGee, 1987). In other words, it was shown that sports and recreation programs combined with seminars concerning health matters, smoking and healthy diets, can result in positive behavior changes and healthier lifestyle (Kronenfeld et al., 1987). Moreover, another very important consequence of the introduction of sports programs at work was that employees adopted healthier living habits, and adopted a “for-life” participation in similar activities, which they later passed on to their children and families (Blair, Tritsch & Kutsch, 1987).
The results were less spectacular in companies that forced their employees to participate in sports and recreation programs. This is mainly true of Japan, where participation is mandatory (Shephard, 1989). In developed western countries, the participation of employees in sports and recreation programs is voluntary, and they can decide for themselves whether they want to exercise either during their break (e.g. lunch-break) or after they have finished work (Rost, Connel, Schechtman, Barzilai & Fisher, 1990). Nowadays, the number of employers introducing sports programs for their employees are rising (Blair et al., 1986).
The governments of developed countries have shown their support for such programs by providing tax exemption for the companies that make use of them or by organizing campaigns pointing out the necessity of exercise for people of both sexes and all ages (Shephard, 1992). The American government believes that the participation of employees in sports programs at work can contribute to the reduction in the number of deaths due to heart attacks (Blair, Booth, Gyarfas, Iwane, Marti, Matsudo, Morrow, Noakes & Shephard, 1996).
The European Sports Committee have decided on a campaign, which would stress the benefits of exercising for health thus motivating companies to introduce sports programs for their employees (The Council of Europe’s Work on Sport, 1990). Nevertheless, such programs are either inadequate or non-existing in Greece, although there are laws dealing with health matters at work (Gougou, 1995). So It appears as a necessity that better organized sports programs at work be introduced In order to be more beneficial for workers. (Gougou, 1995).
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