What Makes a Great Place to Work?

Read this section to look at benefits and some factors that make a business a good place to work.

Unmarried without Children

You've undoubtedly noticed by now that many programs for balancing work and personal lives target married people, particularly those with children. Single individuals also have trouble striking a satisfactory balance between work and nonwork activities, but many single workers feel that they aren't getting equal consideration from employers. They report that they're often expected to work longer hours, travel more, and take on difficult assignments to compensate for married employees with family commitments.

Needless to say, requiring singles to take on additional responsibilities can make it harder for them to balance their work and personal lives. It's harder to plan and keep personal commitments while meeting heavy work responsibilities, and establishing and maintaining social relations is difficult if work schedules are unpredictable or too demanding. Frustration can lead to increased stress and job dissatisfaction. In several studies of stress in the accounting profession, unmarried workers reported higher levels of stress than any other group, including married people with children.Data was obtained from 1988 and 1991 studies of stress in public accounting by Karen Collins and from a 1995 study on quality of life in the accounting profession by Collins and Jeffrey Greenhaus. Analysis of the data on single individuals was not separately published.

With singles, as with married people, companies can reap substantial benefits from programs that help employees balance their work and nonwork lives: they can increase job satisfaction and employee productivity and reduce turnover. PepsiCo, for example, offers a "concierge service," which maintains a dry cleaner, travel agency, convenience store, and fitness center on the premises of its national office in Somers, New York". Single employees seem to find these services helpful, but what they value most of all is control over their time. In particular, they want predictable schedules that allow them to plan social and personal activities. They don't want employers assuming that being single means that they can change plans at the last minute. It's often more difficult for singles to deal with last-minute changes because, unlike married coworkers, they don't have the at-home support structure to handle such tasks as tending to elderly parents or caring for pets.