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Return to Office Update: Mid-Week Visits Spike, While Gyms See Changes in Consumer Behavior Amidst Hybrid Work

Caroline Wu
Apr 28, 2023
Return to Office Update: Mid-Week Visits Spike, While Gyms See Changes in Consumer Behavior Amidst Hybrid Work

Last week, we looked at some macrotrends in return to office.  This week, we’ll go a bit more granular and look at the impact of hybrid work on specific office buildings and working patterns as well as on gyms.

At 4 Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, we see that over the past 12 months, the preferred days to go in among employees have been Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Mondays and Fridays are much lower, as people who have the opportunity to take advantage of hybrid work schedules often prefer to ease into the work week by working from home on Mondays, and also to ease out doing the same working from home on Fridays.  

However, an interesting pattern arises when you look at a mix of employees and visitors going to the same location.  While the same pattern emerges of Tu-Th having more visits, when you add non-employees to the mix, the Friday visits see a boost over Monday.  This could likely be due to the retail mix that also exists at this building, including shops and services such as Banana Republic, Boudin Sourdough Bakery and Cafe, Fitness SF, and Harborview Restaurant and Bar.  

One question that often arises from our clients is whether people are shifting the days of the week for certain leisure activities, such as working out, due to work flexibility.  We compared patterns from Q1 2020 (pre-Covid) with Q1 2023.  Pre-COVID, numbers of visits to Fitness SF in SoMa were generally much higher during the weekday, with preferences for working out on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Currently, weekday visits have dropped, and the preference is for working out on Mondays.  Weekend levels remain stable.  

Upon further inspection, we see that time of day for working out has also shifted. Whereas pre-pandemic, most workouts took place in the late afternoon or evening (with 5:00 pm-6:00 pm being prime times), we now see that 8:00 am-11:00am are the more popular times to work out.  Recent studies reveal that working out in the morning might burn more fat, so these early birds may be on to something.

Moving to the other coast, we took a look at Wells Fargo Center in Miami, FL. A similar pattern emerges for employees: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursday again reign for attendance.  

Repeating the above exercise looking at fitness in Miami, we chose a YMCA to compare for Q1 2020 versus Q1 2023. Pre-COVID saw highest attendance on Wednesdays, whereas present-day sees Monday as the most popular day, then dwindling throughout the week.

Looking at time of day visitation to the YMCA, pre-Covid peaks were 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm, whereas nowadays people are moving their workouts earlier to 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm.  There is also a higher proportion of people starting their workout 12:00 pm-2:00 pm in 2023.

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Caroline Wu

Director of Research,

Caroline brings expertise in retail, CRE, entertainment, media, CPG, and tourism, and specializes in synthesizing broad datasets into actionable recommendations for growth. She has worked as the US Director of Consumer Insights at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, VP of Retail Insights and Intelligence at Omnicom, and Senior Director at Kantar. Caroline holds an MA in Sociology from Stanford University and a BA in International Relations from Stanford University.

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