An examination of the work-life interface of management consultants in South Africa
This research examined the work-life interface of management consultants in South Africa and the consequent impact on their quality of life and worklife balance. The purpose of the study was to develop mitigation strategies to improve employees’ work-life balance, thereby improving the organisation’s efficiency. A quantitative, descriptive research design was adopted, leveraging a unique framework to assess the work-life balance of management consultants. The framework comprised of a Roof Span representing Overall Work-life Balance and three Floors – Work-life, Personal-life and Family-life– representing the domains of work-life balance. The Overall Work-life Balance domain indicated that most consultants are dissatisfied with their work-life balance and cannot manage their stress during the week. The Work-life domain found that consultants spend on average 69 hours per week on work-related activities. These extended hours negatively impact the consultants’ quality of life and impede the firm’s organisational performance. Across the Personal-life domain, consultants spend insufficient time on sleep and regularly attend to work-related activities during their personal time. Within the Family-life domain, consultants dedicate a portion of their day towards family-related activities but seldomly take up any firm flexibility programmes. The researcher recommends consulting firms adopt identified mitigation strategies, which provide consultants with time to improve their work-life balance, resulting in an improvement in the firm’s organisational efficiency. The immediate mitigation strategies that can be implemented include providing predicate time off to employees, ensuring adequate resourcing on projects to manage workload, managing project scope upfront and improving accessibility of leave days to employees.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2021