Thursday proves popular with hybrid workers


21 Oct, 2021

"Is Thursday the new black?" That was the question posed by LinkedIn News about a month ago, after colloquial trends on workplace habits began emerging. It seemed that the majority of hybrid workers were preferring to come into the office mid-week, while Mondays and Fridays were largely spent working-from-home.

Thousands got involved in the debate, with some staunchly defending Tuesdays as the most productive in-office period, while others went for Wednesday. But more recent data suggests Thursday tops them all.

40% of workers are booking workspaces on Thursday

New figures from a sampling of nearly 1000 bookings taken by NearU have shown that 40% of workers are heading to a workspace near them on Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday were split almost equally in popularity (18% and 20% respectively), while Monday was by far the least popular day to head out, accounting for only 9% of bookings.

But don't just take our word for it - travel trends are showing the same kind of split. Last Thursday was reported as being the busiest day for commuters through Farringdon, Canary Wharf, Bank and Monument stations since the pandemic began. Almost a hundred thousand people made the journey. Even food chains are noticing a marked difference in mid-week eating habits, with Pret A Manger boss, Pano Christou, commenting, “it is quieter on Mondays and Fridays," to City AM. Clearly Thursday is doing something right.

So, why Thursday?

So why the sudden urge to leave our home desks mid-week? Most of the pre-pandemic language surrounding this part of the working week has been associated with a decline in productivity rather than rise. Think about all those times your colleagues have complained of the 'mid-week slump', or getting over the 'hump' when Wednesday rolled around. Well, there's no one definitive answer to explain the u-turn.

Workers are using the office for face-to-face collaboration

For many, it's a case of maximising face time with colleagues and superiors. Workers are using the mid-week as a time to set up meetings, coffee chats, and 'power lunches', both professionally and socially. And this makes sense with what we already know about the changing nature of the office. A recent Savills survey found that staff preferred the in-person office for collaborative activities, while focus-heavy tasks were done either at home or in quiet areas. Such trends are also expected to impact office design, which you can read more about here.

But it seems for others, Thursday is proving to be the best day for a final productivity push.  “Thursday’s the new Monday,” Brent Hyder, Salesforces' chief people officer told the Wall Street Journal back in August, indicating that Thursday is the day to be coordinating the week ahead. Our data certainly suggests that people are winding down at either end of the week, with both Monday and Friday coming out as the least popular to book into an office space.

How will this affect future hybrid working trends?

Such trends may even lead to more drastic changes for the future of flexible working. Joe Sanok, author of the book 'Thursday is the new Friday', has spent years advocating for change. He argues that the traditional 40 hour week model implemented as standard by factory owners in the 20th century is outdated based on the way we live and work now. 

But this doesn't necessarily mean a four-day week, which many employers have historically been wary of. Productivity sprints, whereby workers focus on a particular task for a dedicated period of time, could be the key to unlocking potential. "There are different types of sprints, and what works depends on your personality, the type of work, and when you do it," Sanok told MSN recently. For most, it seems this sprint is naturally falling mid-week.

Some employers have even gone as far as to specifically pinpoint Thursdays in their official hybrid working policies. Hugo Boss recently announced that its staff would be required to work in the office Tuesday to Thursday following an internal survey which revealed these as the optimum in-person days. “The future belongs to tailored combinations of office-based and off-site work,” Jochen Eckhold, the company's human resources director, told Reuters. “Our hybrid working model caters to employees’ growing desire for alternative scheduling and location options.”

Time will tell whether Thursday continues to top trends.