On the job from nine to five… or is it four?

Data suggest office workers are signing off earlier.

search interest for how to leave work early

Olivia Heller

If you’re considering an early dip from the office today, ideally it’s because you’ve got something important to do, and not because you’re planning a covert escape from the bathroom window so nobody sees you in a full-body Spider-Man costume.

In either case, recent data appears to suggest workplace hall-of-famers like “would ya look at the time” and “let’s call it a day” are broadly being declared earlier than usual.

Time to bounce

The share of meetings scheduled between 4pm and 6pm across Microsoft Teams dropped 7% YoY in recent months, according to The Wall Street Journal. Elsewhere…

  • On Yelp, 10% of restaurant diners are now seated between 2pm and 5pm, up from 5% in 2019.
  • Uber trips to restaurants between 4pm and 5pm are up 10% from 2019, and down 9% after 8pm.
  • Stanford researchers found golf courses to be 143% busier on weekdays in 2022 versus 2019.

Notably, signing off earlier doesn’t mean you’re not signing back on later; Microsoft Teams users now send 42% more after-hours chats compared to a year and a half ago.

Leading the charge: 44% of senior-level office workers and 50% of mid-level workers who now prefer to work from home, according to McKinsey, versus 6% of junior workers.

  • These employees all said they’re willing to swap 20%+ of their compensation to work at home as they wish.

Time is money: To make the most of working hours, Shopify recently deleted 322k hours-worth of meetings, and now displays a meeting’s estimated financial cost on the calendar.

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