Weekends are supposed to be for enjoyment and relaxation, essentially a time to unwind from the busy work week. Most importantly, weekends provide us with time to focus on our personal lives, creating balance between work, friends and family, and pleasure. However, what happens when weekend fun comes to a close and starts to turn into Sunday night blues? While it's understandable that we all wish weekends could last longer, a strong case of Sunday night blues that persists week after week, likely points to unhappy employees who feel overworked and unappreciated, eventually causing them to leave the company. Consider whether the majority of your employees have deep stress and anxiety about returning to work on Mondays. What does this say about the culture of the organization and its ability to retain top performers? If employees are calling out with numerous "sick day" Mondays, this is probably a strong indication of a problem within the organization.
When a recent Monster study asked participants "Are your 'Sunday Night Blues' bad enough to make you want a new job?", 76 percent of U.S. respondents who admitted to having Sunday night blues, said they are "really bad." According to the survey, 62 percent of global respondents who have the Sunday night blues additionally reported they are "really bad."
"This type of insight provides companies with an opportunity to take a closer look at work expectations and how they are impacting employee morale and productivity," says Suzanne Rice, director of U.S. franchise development. "Employers can play a bigger part in helping staff better manage their workflow, and make adjustments that can lead to improved work-life balance."
Rice provides the following tips for creating an environment where employees look forward to Monday mornings:
Energize the team with Monday morning meetings. Save constructive criticism for later in the week and use this time to congratulate team members on positive outcomes from the previous week. Chart the course for the current week, and identify challenges and resources that are needed to complete tasks so everyone feels they have the support they need.
Provide more workplace flexibility and opportunities to recharge throughout the week. Whether it's telecommuting, a flexible schedule or office perks, staff needs to feel a sense of work-life balance in order to be happy and healthy. Periodically survey employees to find out their workplace needs and determine what improvements the organization can make to help workers maintain a sense of balance so they don't burn out.
Ask staff to use Fridays at the end of day to create a to-do list for the next week. By prioritizing and scheduling things for the next week, employees can alleviate stress about coming into a mountain of work on Mondays and not knowing where to get started.
Encourage employees to use smartphone apps for calendars and note-taking to manage tasks and situations that arrive during the weekend. Since many employees sync their Outlook calendars with their smartphones, they can use this as a tool to prioritize when they will address issues that may occur after hours or on weekends, instead of feeling overwhelmed that they have to attack these things immediately on Monday morning.
"By starting with strategies to counteract Sunday night blues, employers can demonstrate they are committed to creating an enjoyable workplace where employees are provided with the support, flexibility and resources needed to be as productive as possible," adds Rice. "That can send a strong message to employees, especially top performers who are more likely to stay when they feel their employers are invested in helping them create more balance in their lives that can ultimately lead to a more successful tenure with the company."