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What A Dating App Can Tell Us About The Return To The Office


Data gathered by a dating app gives one tentative indication that younger London office workers are starting to return to the office and heading out in city centres to socialise as well.

Thursday, an app that has 90,000 users in London and New York, has noted a shift in the activity and location of its 65,000 London users, from residential areas to employment-focused districts like the City of LondonBloomberg reported. 

The app matches 10,000 people a week and is only active on its namesake Thursdays. The app has seen gradual movement since May when lockdowns began to be loosened, with a more significant shift to the city centre in August as the spike in new cases caused by the delta variant began to recede and all lockdown restrictions were lifted by the government. 

About three-quarters of Thursday’s users are aged 24 to 36, and their shift is in line with a widespread expectation that younger office workers would be among the most keen to return to the office. The office is often seen as a place for fostering learning and building networks, which can be more important considerations at the beginning of a career than for more established workers. 

“I think that, in particular, junior staff would have struggled a bit more during this lockdown from a learning and development perspective,” CBRE Senior Director Justin Carty told a recent episode of Bisnow’s Office Politics podcast series. “I picked up a lot of how I treat clients and how I operate from seeing other senior members of staff in and around the office, eavesdropping on their phone conversations and just hearing how they operate and their style. So I think that if you're a junior member of staff in particular, you will miss out on that.”

September, when children return to school, is viewed as a big moment in the more general return to the office in London and the UK.

The most recent data from proptech firm Metrikus said May London office occupancy tipped above 50% for the first time since before the pandemic. Landlords will be hoping that figure rises significantly in September. Data from Re-Leased showed that Q2 2021 was the worst yet in terms of rent collection for office owners, with 26% of occupiers in the sector not paying their rent, up from 21% the previous quarter.