Newest Remote Working Trend: Nobody Wants to Be in the Office on Fridays

The Washington Post reports on a “widely adopted, even codified” trend in recent months: people aren’t coming in to their offices on Friday.

“The drop-off in office work, particularly on Fridays, has led coffee shops to reduce their hours, delis to rethink staffing and bars like Pat’s Tap in Minneapolis to kick off happy hour earlier than ever — starting at 2 p.m.” Just 30 percent of office workers swiped into work on Fridays in June, the least of any weekday, according to Kastle Systems, which provides building security services for 2,600 buildings nationwide. That’s compared to 41 percent on Mondays, the day with the second-lowest turnout, and 50 percent on Tuesdays, when the biggest share of workers are in the office.

“It’s becoming a bit of cultural norm: You know nobody else is going to the office on Friday, so maybe you’ll work from home, too,” said Peter Cappelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “Even before the pandemic, people thought of Friday as a kind of blowoff day. And now there’s a growing expectation that you can work from home to jump-start your weekend….”

Some start-ups and tech firms have begun doing away with Fridays altogether. Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and online consignment shop ThredUp are among a small but growing number of firms moving to a four-day workweek that runs from Monday to Thursday. Executives at Bolt, a checkout technology company in San Francisco, began experimenting with no-work Fridays last summer and quickly realized they’d hit a winning formula. Employees were more productive than before, and came back to work on Mondays with new enthusiasm. In January, it switched to a four-day workweek for good.
“Managers were onboard, people kept hitting their goals,” Bolt’s head of employee experience tells the Post. “And they come back on Mondays energized and more engaged.”

An adviser at the Society of Human Resource Management tells the Post that employers are trying new inducements to get people to return to offices on Fridays. “If you feed them, they will come. Food trucks, special catered events, ice cream socials, that’s what’s popular right now.” And the Post adds that other employers have also tried wine carts, costume contests and karaoke sing-offs — “all aimed at getting workers to give up their couches for cubicles.”