74% of people say they’ve lost touch with work friends and lunch buddies

It’s 11:55 am. You’re at your desk.

taylorp: “lunch? we’re meeting downstairs in 2.”

But you brought a salad from home. But it’s a reaaaally nice day. And you don’t have any meetings till 1:30. Hmmm…

Lunch with your coworkers is a highlight of most workdays. But it’s hard if you’re working remote.

At Clubhouse, we think about friendship a lot, and we’ve been hearing more and more about people missing their work friends. We wanted to learn more, so we asked a thousand working professionals about how remote work has affected their professional relationships. Here’s what we found…

First, 74% of people have lost touch with their work friends, and among the biggest losses: lunchtime with friends. 61% of people say they’ve had to take a break from friends and eat alone more often.

That got us thinking, are people turning elsewhere to have lunch? The short answer is yes. We see a 14% increase in Clubhouse app usage at noon and there have been more than 25,000 dedicated lunchrooms on Clubhouse since the start of the pandemic. Also, conversations are lasting more than 100 minutes on average. That’s a nice boozy, long Friday afternoon lunch every day? Apparently it is easier to talk than type when you’re holding a messy fish taco in your hand.

The people we talked with told us that rituals like lunchtime with friends are really important. Almost two-thirds of our respondents said their work friends are more important now than ever and 85% of people said work friendships improve their mental health. If we just look at men’s answers, the number is 89%.

If you miss those seemingly-small-but-really-important friendships at the office, and are looking for some inspiration, here are a few of the ways Clubhouse members are doing that on the app:

  • Table for 62? — Tables on Clubhouse have an infinite number of seats, and during the afternoon we notice an uptick in chill, hangout style lunch rooms like, “What’s for lunch,” “Let’s have lunch” and “TAP IN FOR LUNCH PTR WHAT YOU WANT TO EAT.” The ones in all caps are usually from Sales teams.
  • Phone eats first — Your food doesn’t have to be Instagram-worthy to share it on Clubhouse. People share photos of their messy sushi, homemade turkey sandwiches, and finely plated leftover pizza in rooms full of friends, to give them a peek into their real lives. PTRF!
  • Your cup of tea — Multi-taskers like to grab lunch and a show on Clubhouse. Whether you like “Rapping on my lunch break,” “Lunchtime bible study,” “Lunch Break Meditations,” or “Lunchtime whale moan room,” someone, somewhere has got you covered.
  • Lunch-and-learn — Every day we see people using their lunchtime on Clubhouse to get smart – about UK politics, breaking biotech developments, tech industry news, mental health best practices, emerging trends in the art world, how to break into the fashion industry, coping with new motherhood, and a lot more. And they’re meeting others who are thinking about the same things.

We love, love, love hearing stories like this – about people seeing more of their friends and making new ones on Clubhouse. 37% said they’ve made a friend on an audio app like Clubhouse, and that’s not surprising to us. There is something about talking with people that makes it easy to build more authentic connections.

On that note, here are some other fun facts we found about our work friendships that might hit home for you too:

  • 53% say they need someone at work they can vent to and vibe with
  • 20% said that if they didn’t have their work friends, they’d probably quit their current jobs (!)
  • 40% are thankful to have someone they can secretly message or look at when something or someone doesn’t pass the vibe check

While the pandemic is temporary, remote living is permanent. It changes the way we live our lives. But we don’t need to let lunch with friends go by the wayside. We just need to find new ways to do it. If it’s something you miss, grab your phone next time you grab your homemade taco salad and ping a friend or two into the room. :)

– 👋 Team Clubhouse