Businesses are trying to lure workers back into offices on Fridays as 70% of employees still finish the workweek from home
Fewer than a third of US employees show up to the office on Fridays, a new study shows, while companies come up with generous perks to lure them back.
Statistics tabulated by New York real estate management firm Kastle Systems highlight the continued popularity of the hybrid working model well into the pandemic, particularly towards the end of the workweek.
According to magnetic card data, only 30 percent of employees show up on Fridays. Tuesday and Wednesday are the busiest days of the week for offices, with half of the workers showing up on both days.
Only 41 per cent will show up on Monday, while 46 per cent of workers will come into the office on Thursday – despite the fact that the COVID pandemic began almost two and a half years ago.
The phenomenon has left employers at a loss as to how to fill the seats as turnout dwindles – with many high-profile companies now using services like food trucks and wine carts to encourage employees to stop working from home.
Online Optimism, a marketing firm with offices in New Orleans, Washington DC and Georgia, has scheduled a 4pm Friday happy hour for incoming workers.
The only rule is that the staff are not allowed to drink shots.
Online Optimism, which has no office work requirements, reports that up to 80 percent of its 25 employees show up on free food days.
“Honestly, the best socializing happens on Fridays,” CEO Flynn Zaiger told the Post. “Why not have a beer or two? If people are going to be a little less productive one day of the week, I’d rather it be Friday than Monday.”
Fewer than a third of US employees show up to the office on Fridays, a new study has found — and a slew of companies are responding by rolling out a variety of overblown perks to lure the wayward workers back
Other reported perks include costume contests and karaoke sing-offs, all organized with one aim — to get workers off their couches and back to their desks.
But it may not be an easy task, according to statistics compiled by Kastle, which provides building security services for 2,600 buildings across the United States.
Many employers have embraced the new work climate, with high-profile firms like New York-based CitiGroup declaring Fridays “Zoom-free” and accounting giant KPMG implementing a similar “No-camera Fridays” policy.
The company, also based in the Big Apple, too has employees clocked out at 3:00 p.m. for the weekend in the summer — a practice that’s becoming more common, HR professionals say.
Many believe that the trend will now continue.
“It’s becoming a bit of a cultural norm,” Peter Cappelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, told The Washington Post on Friday of the recent move toward remote work.
“You know nobody else goes to the office on Friday, so maybe you’re working from home, too,” Cappelli said.
Meanwhile, some businesses have even begun to do away with Fridays altogether, with crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and online consignment shop ThredUp, based in New York and the Bay Area respectively, among a small but growing number of companies aiming for a Four – Change day work week from Monday to Thursday.
Executives at Bolt, a San Francisco tech company that wants to streamline customers’ checkout process when shopping online, began experimenting with non-working Fridays last summer.
Earlier this year, however, the company had to lay off a third of its 1,000 employees after profits plummeted.
Bolt is continuing the four-day workweek experiment anyway.
Some companies are experimenting with office happy hours to try to lure employees back to work on a Friday
“Even before the pandemic, people thought of Friday as kind of a blowoff day,” Cappelli told The Post. “And now there’s a growing expectation that you can work from home to kickstart your weekend.”
Other companies, however, have been slower to adapt to the hybrid routine — and are now considering how to bring remote workers back as they continue to pay astronomical rents for that office space despite – in many cases – falling productivity.
These companies — which have offices in cities around the world, including New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Washington, DC — have chosen to adopt practices like early happy hours, catering events, and even company-paid food trucks to support that Problem to solve reduced participation on Friday.
Julie Schweber, a consultant at the Society of Human Resource Management, says the logic behind the guidelines is simple: “If you feed them, they will come.”
She told The Post Friday, “Employers know it’s harder to get people to come back, so they’re like, ‘What can we do?'”
“Basically, the answer is, if you feed them, they will come. Food trucks, special catering events, ice cream socials, that’s all the rage right now.”
And it’s popular.
Others have ramped up food trucks, with one HR expert saying, “If you feed them, they will come.”
These rapidly changing standards have spread quickly across the country, with restaurants in areas typically frequented by office workers being forced to adapt to the new climate with closures and earlier happy hours.
The desire to work from home on Fridays is pretty clear, Johnny Taylor, executive director of the Society for Human Resource Management, told The Post.
“If you ask employees when they want to work from home, everyone wants Fridays,” said Taylor, who began experimenting with hybrid working at his company in 2015.
He said his early experiments with remote work, particularly on remote Fridays, were a failure because towards the end of the week employees were ignoring their work as early as Thursday lunchtime, leading to a drop in productivity.
Now, however, he insists times have changed as office workers have become more accustomed to the nuances of remote working.
“Fridays from home are institutionalized,” said Taylor, who now allows remote work on both Mondays and Fridays. “There really is no turning back.”
The latest monthly survey of working arrangements and attitudes shows that most companies are currently subscribing to a hybrid working model – with 56.1 percent offer fewer than three days of remote work per week and 16% offer two.
However, about 30 percent don’t offer one, the organization found — while about 10 schedule a day.
In the meantime, a majority of employees also say they want to work remotely for three days or more – with 15.6 percent preferring three days; 9.3 percent opt for four; and 31.2 percent ask about the full five days.
Workplace experts, meanwhile, have warned employers could risk losing more employees by mandating a full face-to-face workweek.