We all know that Friday feeling, but unfortunately, it’s followed all-too-soon by its evil twin, the Sunday Scaries. Not familiar with that term? Sunday Scaries is that general anxiety that the weekend is over—and you’re about to start another week.
The truth is you’ve probably experienced it—and chances are good your team has, too. In fact, one survey found that nearly 40% of respondents admitted having the Sunday Scaries. The good news is that you can help your team get rid of them—once and for all.
1. Implement “Meeting-Free Mondays.”
One of the reasons employees might feel anxious on Sunday is because they have to jump in with both feet on Monday, after a couple of relaxing days off. That means that on Sunday they start thinking ahead to all they have to accomplish—and panic. We all know that meetings can be a very large time consumer (some might say “time waster”), precluding people from doing actual work. If it’s feasible in your office, consider keeping Mondays an off-limits meeting day so that your team knows they have the whole day to get actual work accomplished and start the week on a productive high note.
2. Ban weekend email.
Well, you might not want to outright ban it but at the least, encourage managers not to send emails over the weekend. Many employees feel obligated to answer, but that can leave them feeling resentful and drained—the opposite of the recharge/refresh that a weekend should accomplish. Turns out, finds one study, that just expecting that you have to check work email after hours can harm your employees’ well-being—and that of their families. Disconnecting can have real benefits in our “always on” workplace, so encourage managers to think twice before hitting send. If you can, try to implement a policy whereby employees aren’t required to answer email outside of the normal workday. Remind your managers about the “boy who cried wolf.” If they act as if everything is an emergency that needs to be dealt with immediately, employees may decide that nothing is. PS: We’re coming for you, too, Slack.
3. Survey the team about their impression of the workplace.
One reason that people might experience the Sunday Scaries is that they’re just not happy with their workplace. And in today’s tight labor market, that can spell trouble if you sense they have one foot out the door. Everyone wants to have their opinion heeded so start implementing surveys to identify what about the job might be bumming (or burning) your people out. Is it the workload? Their environment? The culture? See what changes might make your employees happier—and therefore more content coming to work.
4. Surprise your team with something fun on Monday.
The end of the week is usually when we tend to relax and unwind, maybe have a team happy hour or group lunch. But why should Fridays have all the fun? Switch it up and make Monday the day that you bring treats in to the break room or have a potluck lunch. WeWork has even been known for its “Thank God It’s Monday” ethos.
5. Help build a team vibe.
One of the reasons we love the weekends is we get to spend time with our friends. We’re not suggesting that you should try to turn the whole office into instant BFFs, but encouraging friendships at work can go a long way in people feel more positive about their job. A Gallup poll found that women who had a best friend at work were more than twice as likely to be engaged in their job—and engaged employees are happy employees. So encourage team members to linger over a cup of coffee, take a longer lunch break and sit near whoever they’d like—as long as they are getting their work done of course. To help forge those relationships, think back to your elementary school days and the “Star of the Week” where someone shared photos and fun facts about themselves. Or, incorporate team-building activities into your culture…and while we’re thinking about it, why not do them on a Monday?
6. Start a new Friday ritual.
Encourage all your teams to spend 10 minutes before they leave Friday planning the upcoming week. Sometimes we feel more anxious when we don’t know what’s coming up, or we worry that we’ve forgotten something. By winding down the week doing some planning for the next week, your employees won’t have to dread Monday, because they’ll already know “they got this.”
7. Remind them you’re there to promote their health and well-being.
One of the best parts of being in HR is helping provide peace of mind to your team by looking out for their financial and physical wellness. Take the time to periodically review your special benefits offerings that are designed to help alleviate your employees’ stress—no matter what their situation.