People who are stepping out on their romantic partners tend to spend more hours at work, according to a study out of the United Kingdom. Spending more time at work may be a symptom of infidelity, or it may contribute to the development of infidelity in the first place, but either way long hours at the office are a cheating red flag.
The study, conducted by Approved Index, surveyed 1,550 office workers about office romances and affairs. The study found that about 50 percent of romances between coworkers involved one or both participants committing infidelity. It also found that nearly 70 percent of those who reported having an affair at work also said that they regularly worked overtime.
Previous research has suggested that workplaces are a principal source—perhaps the principal source—of extramarital affairs. This is hardly surprising given that most people spend about half of their waking hours at work. The fact that people who spend longer hours at work are more likely to be cheating is perhaps not surprising either, considering the various factors that likely contribute to this phenomenon.
Overtime Linked to Cheating
For starters, overtime means even more hours at work, away from one’s partner or spouse and in the company of coworkers. Jobs that require such long hours are more likely to be highly demanding and stressful, which may also increase the likelihood that people in such jobs will turn to coworkers for understanding, support, comfort and relief. When a partner spends less time at home, couples are also more likely to grow apart, which could also increase the odds that support will be sought elsewhere.
It is also possible that a budding attraction or the start of an affair at work would make many people less productive at work, particularly during the hours when their object of interest is present. As a result, such people may find themselves forced to stay late at the office in order to make up the work that they failed to complete during the course of normal business hours.
As strange as it sounds, people who cheat on their partners are not necessarily in unhappy relationships. Nevertheless, people who do find themselves unsatisfied or unhappy in their marriages or relationships may find themselves choosing to spend more time at work simply because they don’t really want to go home. Not all, but some people who work overtime because of an unhappy relationship may also find themselves having an affair.
And, of course, some people are not really doing work when they log overtime hours at their place of employment. Instead, the working late excuse is an alibi to allow them to conduct their illicit office romance without their partner suspecting what they are up to. Some illicit couples may stick to the letter of their alibi and conduct their canoodling at the office itself, but for practical purposes, more couples probably use the cover of staying late at work to go elsewhere.
Certain Industries Breed More Office Romances
According to the results of the study, certain industries were more likely to breed office romances—licit and illicit—than others. Industries with more office romances included fashion, transportation and logistics, banking and finance, construction and the public sector, while industries that saw fewer office romances included publishing, insurance, manufacturing and security.