Singles Vs Couples– Who’s More Valuable in the Workplace?
If you’re reading this article and the sun’s still shining, chances are you’re cooped up at the office, counting the seconds before the clock strikes five and you’re released from the shackles of the nine-to-five work grind.
As much as I’d like to congratulate you on choosing your procrastination material wisely, I have a work-related discussion to get off my chest.
Much has been written about the influence of work on personal relationships. We see this discussion particularly pop up in the movies. One character is stuck working 80+ hour weeks in a bid to land the account of he/she’s life. This results in the other partner feeling lonely and unappreciated – feelings which ultimately drive that person into the arms of some schmuck from down the street.
We’ve seen that story. Hell, some of us have been that story. However, few of us have ever explored the reverse.
Just how do intimate relationships affect our work performance?
Does being in a relationship make your collar any whiter than the single chum sitting at the cubicle next to you? Let’s find out…
Case for singles in the work place:
1. Singles work longer, more consistent hours.
There is no six o’clock dinners or after school sport trainings for singles to attend. Days aren’t as planned, meaning workloads can subsequently be increased or given extra attention to detail.
2. Singles have fewer ‘issues’ to deal with at home.
To many, work is often the answer for avoiding problems at home. Whether it be financial pressure, school-related matters, even partner problems, these are all distractions which ultimately impede work performance in some manner over the long term.
3. Singles are paid less.
In 2007, a number of studies by social commentator Bella De Paulo revealed the shocking news that married male employees were paid more than their single counterparts. One case study found a salary discrepancy of almost one-third.
4. Singles adopt a healthier lifestyle
On average, married men and women weigh an extra 2.6 kilograms more than singles. That’s understandable. After all, when you have found your fish, there’s less temptation to swim in the sea, so to speak.
However, the most significant is that married couples exercise 15 percent less than singles. Exercise plays a highly influential, underrated role in improving one’s work ethic. A recent UK-based study revealed that after exercising, come to work more tolerant of themselves and more forgiving of their colleagues. Their work performance was consistently higher in relation to; time management, demand outputs and mental and interpersonal performance.
Case for couples in the work place:
1. Those in relationships live a longer, healthier life
While singles may be slightly better in shape, it’s no secret that married people outlive their single counterparts. A current review of 53 studies suggested that mortality rate for married couples compared to singles were 18 percent less. Why? Married couples consume less alcohol and are less susceptible to using recreational drugs.
As Lisa Simpson says; “beer kills brain cells”, meaning at some point those all-night benders may come back to bite you at work. Those of you who have hit the town on a Sunday night don’t need statistics to attest to this!
2. Those in relationships are less susceptible to mental health problems.
Recently, clinical psychologist Dr Kate Scott from New Zealand’s University of Otago conducted a study of more than 35,000 people across 15 different countries based on a decade of surveys by the World Health Organization.
Dr Scott found that there was an increased risk of mental health issues in those who have a marriage end, through death, divorce or separation. Men have an increased risk of developing depression and women are more likely to turn to substance abuse.
3. Those in relationships are seen as more loyal.
Single and married employees represent different values to employers. It goes back to the old adage that marriage forces one to put the wellbeing of others before themselves. In the eyes of employers, the married employee is seen as a stable resource that depends on job security to provide for their family.
It’s hard for organisations to see singles as more loyal because the fact of the matter is, there’s nothing stopping singles from packing their bags and jetting off overseas tomorrow.
4. Those in a relationship have a history of alleged “favouritism”.
A recent survey on careerbuilder.com found that more than 21 percent of single workers believe their company show favouritsm to their married coworker counterparts. Whether it’s more flexible working schedules, paternity leave, family appreciation events (e.g. take your daughter to work day), there appears to be proof in the pudding.
It appears employers are faced with a trade-off: Single employees are more likely to operate at a higher efficiency rate, while those in relationships are more likely to stick around for the long haul. Be this as it may, I can’t help but feel the argument really comes down to a case-by-case situation.
In saying this, I can’t stress the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle. As a former lifestyle and fitness consultant-turned matchmaker, I’ve noticed an intrinsic connection between good health and happiness. Sure, going to the gym or playing team sports may help add another zero to your salary, but as Hollywood has taught us, money can’t buy love. Our careers may allow us to borrow happiness, but love encourages us to keep it. So whether you are single or spoken for, make sure the KPI you look to improve is the one that’s in your heart!