In the midst of figuring out what is the perfect hybrid workplace, many leaders fear that even when employees choose to go back to the office, they will most certainly do it Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (which are already the most popular days in the office pre-COVID according to our recent impact report). That would leave Monday and Friday feeling like a ghost town. Some are expressing the idea that maybe the office should be closed Monday and Friday to reduce the cost of operations, but is that the best solution?
People start to feel anxious every Sunday night as 6 pm rolls through, thinking about Monday morning. Social media floods news feeds with GIFS about Sunday night doom and we automatically start thinking about the end of our weekend and the beginning of our dreaded work week.
In the perfect future of work, we want to create a work culture where people are excited to be there and choose how to manage their time. Managers will no longer need to hold a carrot on a stick, but instead, focus on providing a work environment that facilitates happiness and growth within the workplace. It would reduce stress on Monday mornings, give employees purpose, refuel their work perspective, and provide support to tackle their weekly tasks and goals.
Why do we stress over Mondays?
Many of us spend the week figuring out how to get to Friday. Either by planning drinks with friends, trips in the near future, or even spa days just to have something to look forward to. But what if we looked forward to Mondays? What if we came into work with a positive outlook Monday morning, focusing on why we love our job and coworkers?
As employees, we’re programmed to hate Monday mornings. We spend our whole week developing a routine that divides the workweek from the weekend and we lose our sense of freedom once the work week starts up again. We’ve all opened up our laptops to check emails Sunday evening as we bury our face in our hands muttering, “How am I going to get this all done?”
With the feeling of always having to be “online,” employees are working more than their dedicated 40 hours, feeling burnt out, and thus, feeling more tension on Sunday evenings. As managers are now noticing, the pandemic has blurred the lines between work and personal life and it’s apparent that these changes be addressed to help employees step into the office with a positive outlook and relaxed mindset for the week.
Although there’s no vaccine for “the Sunday Scaries,” being proactive and engaging with employees to understand their needs and theirs stress is necessary for this new normal.
The meaning of Monday
If you were to ask people if they like their job, many of the same people who hate Monday will tell you they love their job. But the fact of switching from leisurely weekend strolls to work mode seems to throw people out of the rhythm and provoke discomfort and reluctance.
Many companies used to think they had to help employees get through the week, giving them events to look forward to every Friday. The fact is we’re entering a new hybrid workforce and TIGF is losing its glamour. Monday could set the scene for a utopian workplace, transforming our offices to be the most welcoming and engaging environment to reconnect with teams, share personal goals, and reiterate the company’s mission.
It’s clear we still long for human interaction, so we’ll need to shift our perspective on what it means to come to the office on Monday morning. Setting up your office for the hybrid space means looking at workflows that work best in the virtual and physical space.
Among the many options, we can restructure how we view the days of the week and how we can utilize certain days for different initiatives. Moving away from our midweek rush mentality, we can separate the days of the week to focus on community building, collaborative efforts, company-wide realignment, and dedicate lighter days for individual tasks, focusing on work and creativity.
We all have to be honest and understand that Monday still doesn’t have a huge fan base, so it’s the perfect day to catch up and refocus expectations before we jump into a tough week. Leaving heavy meetings days for Tuesdays and having Mondays to emphasize what goals resonate with us as employees and proactively utilize the workplace to engage to be more productive.
Mindfulness in the Workplace
What if coming back to work wasn’t hopping into your 9 am meeting, getting a cup of coffee, and answering all your emails at the same time? What if instead, we had a Monday work ritual where employees could disconnect from the weekend and activate their minds and bodies to get ready for the workweek?
Even before COVID, Sunday always held a bit of tension in the air. As the hours dwindle back down into the workweek, many of us find ourselves racking our brains on what we need to accomplish. As with many things, the pandemic has shifted our work mindset, forcing us to focus on our mental health and distinguish work hours from personal time.
So it may be time to shine a light on the positive by redirecting our anxiety and asking the question, “What is my purpose and how can I contribute to my company’s mission?” This creates a collective consciousness amongst teams and staff, aligning personal and company goals and bringing positive energy to the office. Although not commonly talked about, mindfulness in the workplace is key to the success of your employees. It will bring overall morale up and will help employees define work-life balance.
Mindfulness in the workplace can be as easy as teaching your employees to “stay in the moment” Sunday night and enjoying their weekend with their loved ones or taking the time to ground themselves before the workweek. It’s important for management to create a work culture that is a testament and shows their desire to care for their employees and their mental, emotional, and physical health.
You can make Monday a lot more motivating for your employees and make a visit to the office worthwhile by implementing a Monday routine that your employees look forward to.
Try these few tips to give them a jumpstart before their Monday morning coffee:
- Morning yoga flow to settle into better posture
- Sharing moments: the “how was your weekend?” but more intentional. Share something you’ve learned or done
- Reconnecting with our purpose (role / team / company)
- Dive into goals for the week
Take the time to redesign
As we redesign the workplace we have to think about the physical and mental health of our employees, both in and out of the office, and how to design a space where employees can prepare for the workweek. Whether they’re commuting via bike or just getting in from their morning walk, they’ll need to settle their bodies and minds before opening up their computers. By implementing mindfulness in the workplace, companies can help employees decompress from the weekend, relieve the stress of Mondays and create a space where creativity and inspiration can thrive.
Nellie Hayat is the Head of Workplace Transformation at VergeSense, a workplace occupancy data provider helping companies better design human-centric workplaces and improve the employee journey and office layout.