Friday night is not it. That’s because Wednesday is the new Thursday and Thursday is the new Friday. And if you’re not following us, you’re probably not one of the millions in the UK who’ve embraced hybrid working.
New data from Freespace, a technology company that has 120,000 workplace sensors in offices across the country, shows that less than 15% of desks were occupied last Friday. But the number was closer to 40% on Wednesday.
It’s why hybrid workers have been given the cheeky nickname TWATs, representing the days we’re most likely to come into the office: Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays
It appears that given the choice, few of us choose to kick off our weekends with a Friday commute. And as a result, the pattern of our social lives is also shifting.
Thursday has long been the preferred evening for a weekday night out among professionals. It’s the perfect day to have drinks with colleagues or grab dinner with pals because a) you only have Friday to get through, b) your Saturday isn’t ruined with a hangover, and c) you’ve recovered in time for another BNO on Saturday night, should you feel inclined.
It just makes sense.
But it seems workers are increasingly choosing to move their social calendars forwards by a day – and the hospitality industry is seeing the impact.
“Our busiest night used to be Friday but post lockdown everything has changed,” Phil Inzani, owner of the Polo Bar in the City of London, told the Times.
“Fridays are now quieter but Wednesday and Thursday are much busier. A lot of the Friday night trade has moved to Thursday and the Thursday night trade to Wednesday.
“This is the new normal now and what we take into account when we do our planning. Friday used to be a big day for hospitality in the City generally but now you can see the streets are empty.”
It’s a timetable that’s more popular with workers like Lekha Ly, a 31-year-old senior PR Manager at Yard. “In a post pandemic world my favourite night out is no longer on a Friday,” she says. “As I no longer go in to the office, I can go out for dinner and wine on a quieter night like Wednesday or Thursday (when I am more likely to get a seat in a bar and take advantage of off-peak pricing) and not have to worry about being up early to commute the next day.
“As soon as the week ends on Friday, there’s nothing that I want more than a home cooked meal followed by chocolate and sofa time. At the end of the working week, I am usually tired and now I can fully embrace that and not go out, get an early night so I can be fresh for the weekend.”
Perhaps the pandemic has also encouraged us to embrace more downtime. Although Ly does add: “I’m 31, probably also why I don’t want to go out on a Friday!”
Given the shift, those organising work parties might also want to get with the times. A recent survey of 2,000 UK workers conducted by the events company Headbox found just 25% said they’d prefer work parties to be held on a Friday or over the weekend. The majority (75%) prefer a weeknight for a social event.
Given how expensive it is to work in the office compared to working from home, it’s hardly surprising many of us are cutting down our in-person hours.
But if you still want a mid-week night out that isn’t completely dead, Wednesday could be just the ticket.