The Hottest Work Day Of The Week Is Now...Wednesday?
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The Hottest Work Day Of The Week Is Now…Wednesday?

Hybrid workweeks let people decide which days to go to the office. The one in the middle is their top choice.

By Peter Grant
Thu, May 12, 2022 10:36amGrey Clock 4 min

The pandemic has turned a lot of things upside down. That includes the week.

For years, Mondays sort of haunted the weekend, a looming day when the fun would be over and it was time to get serious again.

But as employers start asking their work-from-home people to come in part of the time, a different day is taking centre stage: It’s Wednesday.

At lunchtime on a recent Wednesday in Midtown Manhattan—a place that still bears plenty of pandemic vacancy—most tables were full at Oceana, Del Frisco’s, Boucherie, Bobby Van’s Steakhouse and other fancy eateries.

Groups who showed up at the Mediterranean restaurant Limani had to wait. “From now on they should make reservations,” advised George Saites, Limani’s manager.

Commuter rail lines in cities like Boston and San Francisco found Wednesday typically the busiest weekday in April. The same is true of hotel occupancy in many big cities, a sign salespeople know that is the day they’re likeliest to find contacts in the office, said Jan Freitag, director of hospitality analytics at CoStar Group Inc.

An average of 46% of U.S. office workers went to work on Wednesdays in March, said Kastle Systems, a security firm that monitors access-card swipes. That trounced Monday’s meagre 35%.

Wednesday used to be rather ho-hum as days go—too far into the week to start anything ambitious, but not close enough to the weekend to start pining for time off.

Nobody talks about the Wednesday-morning blues. There’s no Wednesday the 13th film series. No one says TGIW. Consider its distinctly unglamorous nickname: Hump Day.

So what has made Wednesday Office Day instead?

In a world of hybrid work, many companies that allow employees to split time between the office and their home let them to choose which days to come in. But many firms would like it to be about three.

“Some [companies] are saying Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Some are saying Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Some are saying Wednesday, Thursday, Friday,” said Brian Kropp, chief of human-resources research for advisory firm Gartner.

There’s one common day in these scenarios: “All the natural rhythms of work say that Wednesdays are going to be the day when we’re together,” Mr. Kropp said.

Office landlords and downtown business organizations fretful about the slow pace of tenants’ return are trying to pick up on the Wednesday mojo by holding special events. On a Wednesday morning earlier this month, members of the Chicago Group Alliance greeted returning workers at the Thompson Center office building, cheering marathon-style.

Dozens of office buildings managed by JLL, a real estate services firm, hold themed events every Wednesday. There are Woof Wednesdays for dog owners in a San Francisco building that allows tenants to bring pets. In other cities, there are Wellness Wednesdays with fitness classes on roofs and plazas.

Last week, Wednesday fortuitously fell on May 4, which has been adopted by Star Wars fans for “May the Fourth Be With You” celebrations. Two of JLL’s Washington, D.C., buildings treated tenants to Yoda Soda, Wookiee Cookies and Jabba Juice.

In Florida, Breakwater Hospitality Group is planning to add Whiskey Wednesday and Wine Wednesday events at its restaurants in Fort Lauderdale and Miami’s Brickell business district to capitalize on the trend.

The critical mass of workers on Wednesday can be self-reinforcing, some managers suggest. Employees say they like office socialization, so it makes sense to go in on the day you think the most other people will.

“Wednesday is definitely the anchor,” said Rebecca Tsallis, one of the architects of a hybrid work strategy for North America at Ford Motor Co.

Office workers are still adapting to Wednesday’s new prominence. People working from home on Mondays and Tuesdays no longer feel the “Sunday scaries” as Monday approaches, said Cailin Rogers, principal of Alta Via, a Chicago marketing firm.

Some are even beginning to express frustration about Wednesdays because there isn’t enough room, in the case of businesses that shed space during the pandemic in anticipation of a hybrid work strategy, said Mr. Kropp of Gartner.

The result is a little Wednesday-morning quarterbacking. Mr. Kropp said workers are saying, “Gosh, you tell me to come in and it’s crowded. And then you say because it’s crowded, we’re not supposed to be in a conference room all together….So, why am I coming in again?”

If the rate of return to the office keeps rising, some employers might start encouraging workers to come in on more Mondays and Fridays, according to workplace consultants. Otherwise, employers that have unloaded a lot of space might risk running out of room on Wednesdays.

Allie Brush won’t cause them any problem. Ms. Brush, the client-relations director for a New York architecture and engineering firm, got used to working alone during the pandemic and prefers it for the quiet. She goes to her office on Mondays and Tuesdays, when the place is less crowded.

“I avoid the chaos of Wednesday,” she said.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: May 11, 2022.


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

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Auto dealers across many parts of the country say electric vehicles are becoming too hard a sell for buyers worried about the range, reliability and price of these models.

When Paul LaRochelle heard Ford Motor was coming out with an electric pickup truck, the dealer was excited about the prospects for his business.

“We thought we could build a million of them and sell them,” said LaRochelle, a vice president at Sheehy Auto Stores, which sells vehicles from a dozen brands in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

The reality has been less positive. On Sheehy’s car lots, LaRochelle says there is a six- to 12-month supply of EVs, compared with a month of gasoline-powered vehicles.

With automakers set to release a barrage of new electric models in the coming years, concerns are mounting among auto retailers about whether the technology will have broader appeal given that many customers are still reluctant to make the switch.

Battery-powered models have been piling up on car lotsdealers say, as EV sales growth has slowed in the U.S. this year. Car companies have been offering a combination of discounts and lower interest-rate deals in an effort to juice demand. But it hasn’t been enough, because buyer reticence extends beyond the price tag, dealers say.

“I’m not hearing the consumer confidence in the technology,” said Mary Rice, dealer principal at Toyota of Greensboro in North Carolina. “People aren’t beating down the door to buy these things, and they all have a different excuse why they aren’t buying one.”

Customers cite concerns about vehicles burning through a battery charge faster in cold weather or not being able to travel as far as they expected on a single charge, dealers say. Potential buyers also worry that chargers aren’t as readily accessible as gas stations or might be broken.

Franchise dealerships fear that the push to roll out new models will inundate them with hard-to-sell vehicles. Research firm S&P Global Mobility said there are 56 EV models for sale in the U.S. this year, and the number is expected to nearly double to 100 next year.

“I start to think, you know maybe we should just all pump the brakes a little bit,” Rice said.

A group of dealers expressed their concerns about the government’s role in pushing electric vehicles in a letter last month to President Biden.

A Toyota Motor spokesman said the majority of dealers have become “increasingly more confident in their ability to sell Toyota EV products.”

At Ford, the company’s electric-vehicle sales are rising, including for its F-150 Lightning pickup, but demand isn’t evenly spread across the country, according to a spokesman.

Dealers say that after selling an EV, they sometimes hear complaints about charging and the vehicles not always meeting their advertised range. In some cases, customers seek to return them to the dealer shortly after buying them.

“We have a steady number of clients that have attempted to or flat out returned their car,” said Sheehy’s LaRochelle.

While EVs remain a small but rapidly expanding part of the new-car market, the pace of growth has slowed this year. Electric-vehicle sales increased 48% in the first 11 months, compared with a 69% jump during the same period in 2022, according to Motor Intelligence. Sales remain concentrated in a few states, with California accounting for the largest chunk, S&P Global Mobility data found.

The cooling growth has raised broader questions in the industry about whether car companies face a temporary hurdle or a longer-term demand challenge. Automakers have invested billions of dollars to bring more EV models to the market, and many analysts and car executives say they remain optimistic that sales will continue to expand.

“Although the rate of growth has slowed recently, EV demand is clearly moving in the right direction,” said General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra on a recent conference call with analysts. A combination of more affordable model options and better charging infrastructure would help encourage more people to buy electric vehicles, she said.

There are also varying views within the dealer community about how quickly buyers will adopt the technology.In hot spots for electric-vehicle demand, such as Los Angeles, dealers say their battery-powered models are some of their top sellers. Those popular EV markets also tend to have more mature public charging networks.

Selling an electric car or truck outside of those demand centres is proving more difficult.

Longtime EV owner Carmella Roehrig thought she was ready to go full-electric and sold her backup gasoline vehicle. But after the 62-year-old North Carolina resident found herself stranded last year in a rural area of South Carolina, she changed her mind. Roehrig’s Tesla Model S got a flat tire, but none of the stores in the area carried tires for a Tesla. She ended up paying a worker at a nearby shop to drive her home.

Roehrig still has her Tesla but bought a pickup truck for long road trips.

Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment.

“I have these conversations with people who say we’ll all be in EVs in 15 years. I say: ‘I’m not so sure. I’ve tried to do it,’” Roehrig said. “I think you need a gas backup.”

Customers who want to ditch their gas vehicle for environmental reasons are sometimes hesitant, said Mickey Anderson, president of Baxter Auto Group, which owns dealerships in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado.

“We’re in the Colorado Springs market. If this is your sole mode of transportation, and you’re in a market in extremes of elevation and temperature, the actual range is very limited,” Anderson said. “It makes it extremely impractical.”

Dealers representing around 4,000 stores across the U.S. signed the letter in November addressed to Biden, saying the administration’s proposed auto-emissions regulations designed to promote electric-vehicle sales are unrealistic. The signatories ranged from stores owned by family businesses to publicly held giants such as AutoNation and Lithia Motors.

“Some customers are in the market for electric vehicles, and we are thrilled to sell them. But the majority of customers are simply not ready to make the change,” the letter said.

Some carmakers are pushing back EV-rollout plans. GM said in mid-October that it would delay the opening of an electric pickup plant by a year to late 2025. In response to weaker-than-expected consumer demand, Ford said in late October that it would defer $12 billion of planned spending on electric-vehicle investment.

Since September, dealers on average took more than two months to sell an EV, compared with 40 days for all vehicles, according to car-shopping website Edmunds.

While discounts have helped boost sales of some electric vehicles, they also have led to repercussions for some current owners because it reduces the value of their vehicles, dealers say.

“Most people don’t have the confidence to buy an EV and know what it will be worth in 10-15 years,” said Rice from the Toyota dealership.

It may take some time for the industry to adjust because it is still in an early stage of switching to electric vehicles, Sheehy’s LaRochelle said.

“We’re asking for this market to grow organically,” he said.


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Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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