More people are remaining single or staying single longer than previous generations of workers, yet many workplaces still treat the nuclear family as the default, Quartz reports.
As staying single becomes less stigmatized, even more people may wind up choosing that path in the years ahead, which means workplaces will have to adjust to the new reality.
Four in 10 adults between the ages of 25 and 54 are single, up from 29% in 1990, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. The survey defines “single” as being neither married nor living with a partner.
Single workers often are asked to take on more work and stay at the office longer because they don’t have family at home. Singles sometimes feel marginalized in work cultures that assume everyone is partnered up and has children.
Ways that companies can appeal to single workers include:
- Recognizing that single people still have loved ones. Workplace leaders should communicate their respect for all kinds of families and relationships. When talking about work-life balance, for example, it’s more productive to ask open-ended questions than to center the conversation around working parents’ circumstances.
- Creating more expansive leave policies that allow people to care for any loved one, not just a spouse or child. This is an issue of particular import for marginalized communities such as LGBTQ+ people.
- Respecting everyone’s time. When companies make it clear that work-life balance is a priority for everyone, the whole company benefits.
- Offering sabbaticals and other solo-friendly benefits. Another solution is universal leave policies that staffers can use for almost any reason.
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