Cape Peninsula University of Technology

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The effect of staff morale during telecommuting in the health sector of a public institution in the Western Cape

posted on 2023-03-31, 08:15 authored by Rentia Van HeerdenRentia Van Heerden, visvanathan naicker

Ethics approval/clearance certificate : 2021_FBMSREC 055 

With the sudden onset of Covid-19, traditional working arrangements changed drastically when staff started to work from home (WFH). Looking after the wellbeing and morale of staff working remotely was found to be challenging as face-to-face contact was minimised, and this contributed to lowered staff morale. The main research objectives of this study were to determine whether telecommuting had an impact on staff morale, to assess whether staff feel they could remain productive during telecommuting periods, as well as to predict and forecast whether telecommuting will be considered a viable working method. Thirty-four respondents formed part of this study through convenience and purposive sampling. The initial conceptual framework was based on the following constructs: staff wellbeing and morale, work-life balance, organisational support, social and professional isolation, productivity, stress, and job demands. Fisher’s model of Conceptualizing and Measuring Wellbeing at Work, Danna and Griffin’s Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace theory and Baruch and Nicholson’s four factors of Teleworking framework provided context to the conceptual framework. The finding was that telecommuting mostly had a positive impact on staff wellbeing and morale. It was evident that staff went through an adapting phase when they initially started to WFH, but after adapting, they felt they could be more productive and that working from home increased their productivity. WFH in a hybrid approach was deemed a feasible option going forward. Through the Covid-19 pandemic, the DoH has acquired a more tech-savvy workforce consisting of staff members who worked self-sufficiently and mostly isolated at home. This means that the organisation should relook the way staff can work going forward, as traditional methods of work will need to be modernised. It would also be good to retain the various efficiencies the organisation acquired during the WFH period. It is recommended that the organisation review the WFH working hours for different teams, consider more efficient communication sessions and options, reengineer existing weekly planning schedules, facilitate more virtual training sessions and retain Covid-19 WFH efficiencies. In addition, it is also recommended that a WFH Hybrid model be adapted for the organisation.


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