No amount of calendar management, hitting the “snooze” button, or outright denial allows you to skip Mondays entirely. The weekend has to end at some point, so the goal should be to start the week off as well as possible — not avoid thinking about it entirely.
Half of all workers will be late to their job on Monday mornings. What can a manager do to change that? While you can’t magically get your team excited for work overnight, you can help make Mondays less of a drag than they already are.
While there isn’t one “right” answer for making Mondays better, that doesn’t mean there aren’t places where you can make an impact. Here are some things you can do to get your team feeling much happier during their Monday morning commute:
1. Slash the workweek.
The five-day, 40-hour workweek has become part of the national consciousness. The ritual of clocking in at 9 a.m. and checking out at 5 p.m. is a standard part of American culture by now. Why, then, have 15 percent of companies started implementing four-day workweeks?
Unsurprisingly, the shift from five days to four can result in a big boost for employee morale, and the morale created by a shorter week can lead to an increase in productivity. A happier, more productive workforce seems like plenty of reason to adopt a new work policy. Employees are also more interested in returning to work after a three-day weekend — the normal weekend can feel short, so Mondays naturally carry a high level of drudgery.
Expanding the weekend to three days, though, can develop “on/off” attitudes when it comes to work. During the four days of work, employees are more motivated and less burnt out than if they were habitually working five days a week for months on end. If you want your employees to appreciate Mondays, try eliminating Fridays.
2. Maintain a friendly office.
In many ways, the easiest way to get your team members looking forward to Mondays is by making your office a place they want to be. While some companies try to achieve this with fancy furniture, ping-pong tables, or video game consoles, nothing can replace a genuinely warm and friendly group of people.
I try to foster camaraderie in my office through occasional half-day retreats and regular company lunches. I find that creating even a small amount of social time between employees is a great way to develop lasting friendships in the office. It’s important never to force anything — no one wants to be in what feels like a mandated friendship. Instead, allow space for relationships to develop naturally. The office is going to be a social place, whether you like it or not; you might as well make it a positive one.
3. Host a team breakfast.
If you want Mondays to be a true highlight, kick them off the right way with a team breakfast. Giving people an opportunity to meet up, talk about their weekends, and eat good food is a great way to help eliminate the end-of-weekend blues. It also gives everyone the fuel to be productive, rather than sluggish, as they get back into their routine.
A team breakfast doesn’t have to be strictly social. You can use it as an opportunity to update everyone about recent developments in the company or share anything else they need to know about. A good meal with good people will always help dull the edge of returning to the office, even if you have to go over numbers at the same time.
4. Go outdoors.
Weather and environment permitting, not much can beat the great outdoors. Instead of having employees focused on returning to the office on Monday morning, give them a planned outdoor activity to focus on.
At my company, we’ve done everything from nature walks to sunrise yoga, and the results have been clear. I have plenty of workers who aren’t fitness freaks or nature lovers, but that doesn’t stop people from looking forward to our time being active outside the office. Exercise, in addition to helping you ease into work at the first part of the day, is a natural mood booster that can offset any negative emotions coming into the workplace. Even if you ignore the productivity-boosting aspects of physical activity, a bit of movement before work begins never hurts.
Mondays may be shorthand for doom, gloom, and all-around dissatisfaction, but they don’t have to be. The Sunday scaries may be real, but they don’t have to plague your team. Assess your office to figure out what would make your workers more likely to enjoy coming in on Mondays. The investment will be worth the payoff.