Workers want to keep dating on the clock, even as they return to office

Old habits die hard, especially when it comes to dating during work hours.

Just look at Tinder’s recent refresh of its “Desk Mode” feature, which enables users to hide their swiping on a work computer anytime their boss is about to walk by. Clicking on the “Desk Mode” briefcase icon switches the screen to a fake chart titled “Meeting Notes,” full of tasks like buying drinks and ordering nachos. (These tasks may be more happy hour than business, but it’s something.)

Tinder’s “Desk Mode” feature.

Courtesy of Tinder

The feature has been around since 2017, clicked on about 1 million times a month pre-pandemic before dropping to 850,000 clicks a month in 2021, a Tinder spokesperson told Fortune. They said the company updated the feature for workers returning to office in anticipation its popularity would surge again. As more CEOs start to push employees back to their desks, Tinder is helping workers maintain a flexibility perk they discovered while working from home: dating during work hours.

A 2021 Tinder survey provided to Fortune found that dating app usage during the work day increased by 11% since pre-pandemic times as employees worked from home. Almost half (47%) of those polled said they’d rather swipe during their nine to five than on their own time—even during meetings, which almost one-third of users admitted to doing; but most are more mindful, swiping during their lunch break. 

And, per a separate in-app survey from the same year, about 35% of Tinder users admitted to using the app as a way to procrastinate at work.

Multi-tasking between spreadsheets and dating app profiles is all part of the newfound flexibility in the remote work era, the magical buzzword for recruiting and retaining employees these days—nearly all knowledge workers want schedule flexibility and most want location flexibility. Working from home ultimately gave employees a longer leash to do their jobs while juggling less kosher activities during company hours, like napping, shopping, and swiping. 

People have been turned to dating apps more in general since the pandemic hit. When lockdown first began in March 2020, Tinder saw a record number of swipes in one day: 3 billion.

It’s not just the apps—workers have overall been getting more frisky during working hours. One 2021 survey found that during the workday, 42% of workers had been on a date at least once and about 41% had sex at least once.

They’ll have to say goodbye to coffee dates and afternoon delights as hybrid work grows in popularity. But Tinder’s relaunched feature is a sign that they’re not ready to entirely let go of dating on the clock, imploring workers to keep swiping right on grainy pictures of men holding fish. 

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