Interaction between work and personal life of higher education staff in the Free State Province : a phenomenological study
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In South Africa, the staff of higher education institutions experiences several stressors in their work and home domains. Therefore, it is important to understand how these two life domains are in interaction with each other. The general objective of this study was to investigate how higher education staff experienced work-personal life interaction (WPLI). A sample of 24 higher education staff that was willing to participate in the study was taken from different faculties and departments from a higher education institution in the Free State Province. For the purpose of this research, a qualitative design from a phenomenological approach was used. The specific objectives of this study were to determine the experiences, main dimensions, antecedents, consequences, and strategies in the lives of higher education staff. The results obtained indicated that Afrikaans and African women and men experienced time and strain-based conflict. Their work environment was characterised by a heavy workload, long working hours, resulting in work being taken home, and their home environment was characterised by a demanding family (spouses and children) and household duties. Men and women also thought about things in the family domain (e.g., when their children were sick) while they were at work. This caused a constant spill over, leaving employees tired and stressed. Strategies (e.g., prioritising, planning and time management) and support (e.g., spouses, division of family and household duties, friends and colleagues, as well as the flexible working hours) helped them to cope with this interaction. Recommendations were made for future research and the organisation.