There isn’t a person alive who can say that they are always ready to roll out of bed and get their workweek started every Monday morning. In fact, I’d be willing to guess that most of the 76% of Americans who suffer from Sunday-night blues struggle with their Monday mornings. But let’s forget about Sunday-night blues for a second.
In a typical workweek, each day tends to take on a personality of its own. Wednesday is “Hump Day,” celebrating the joy of making it halfway through the week. Thursday typically gets people thinking about happy hour, and the excitement leading up to the weekend. Friday is, well, Friday–everyone’s favorite (week)day as they wait for freedom to hit at 5 p.m.
What has happened to poor Monday? And forgotten Tuesday? As an employer, you want your employees to be productive all week long, no matter what day is. Sure, you might not be able to control whether or not your employees enjoy their day-to-day tasks. But there are things you can implement so that your employees don’t dread Monday as much. Here are four ideas.
1. Guarantee one hour of uninterrupted morning time
Monday mornings are usually not the easiest. Employees have just broken their routine for two days, and now they’re turning their alarms back on, packing their children’s lunch, and commuting. For most people, there is nothing worse than walking through the door on a Monday, grabbing paper and a pen, and hopping straight into a meeting. They haven’t even had their coffee, and they’re definitely not ready to think yet!
Of course, work still begins when an employee walks through the door. But imagine if every employee had the same thing on their calendar–an invite from their manager from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. that encourages them to wrap up whatever projects they were working on last week, and it also allows some breathing room to prepare for the coming week. Employees would certainly appreciate having the time to ease into the workweek and get reoriented before attending a team meeting where they’re expected to be at their best and spout brilliant ideas.
2. Put some team fun into Monday
How many times do we plan team lunch, happy hour, or dinner on a Wednesday or Thursday? Try rescheduling to Monday. When your employees know there is time to talk about their weekend and their upcoming plans during a team lunch, they may not spend 30 minutes first thing chatting away with coworkers rather than prepping for the week.
If a team meal or happy hour isn’t your thing, you can organize a walk at lunch with everyone. This gives them an opportunity to bond, and a little bit of sunlight and movement will also help stave off the dreaded afternoon slump. I personally schedule a workout with my coworker on Mondays after work. It’s time we look forward to, because it’s a chance for us to catch up and knock out an exercise session early in the week.
3. Incorporate Friday activities that will work on a Monday
Many companies have “fun” activities on a Friday, whether it’s casual Friday, theme dress days, or popcorn or ice cream in the office. All these initiatives matter. I’m sure that people look forward to wearing jeans if they work in an office that requires business attire, but here’s the thing–there is no law stating that companies can only do these things on a Friday. In fact, getting into the week might be so much easier if employees were allowed to dress down on a Monday and Friday.
4. Build in end-of-day creative time
Far too often, we get into the routine of doing, doing, doing. It’s no surprise that managers end up scheduling brainstorming time at the last minute, giving employees insufficient time to prep. My perfect Monday would include good productive work time and good productive thinking time. Why? Because ideas take time to develop.
Consider getting your team together not to just review weekly items, progress, and housekeeping items, but also to collaborate and think actively. Find exercises for your team to do where there is no prep work involved–all they need to do is show up and be guided through an activity that could improve creativity or get the juices flowing.
You shouldn’t wait until the end of the day to schedule this time, but you should wait until the end of the day to have this meeting. Concentration might not be so great in the afternoon, but according to a 2011 study from Albion College and Michigan State University, creative ideas do tend to come out later in the day.
Ultimately, you don’t have control over your employees’ feelings about coming back to work on Monday. But doing these four things can ease their anxiety. After all, when Monday becomes more exciting for your employees, it also becomes more exciting for everyone within the company. It’s contagious energy, and more people might just stop getting the Sunday night blues.
Terra Vicario is the chief marketing officer at Viventium, a cloud-based Payroll and HR (HCM) software solution.