No more ‘Sunday Scaries’: how changing our habits can conquer work anxiety

You know the scenario. You’ve just sat down to Sunday lunch, you still have a quarter of your weekend left, but the Monday morning fear has already hit. The ‘Sunday Scaries’ are all too common – here’s how to reclaim your weekend.

Long to-do lists, early morning meetings, and five long days ahead – Monday mornings are a common source of dread. LinkedIn data shows that 80% of professionals experience the Sunday Scaries, with over 90% of Millennials and Gen Z reporting that they too feel it. But in this age of wellness, mental health awareness, and hybrid working, it feels like a good time to stop work dread in its tracks.

There are a number of ways you can do this, from looking at how you timetable the week to opening up the right kinds of conversations. We’ve pinned down some key methods – because it’s time to give everyone their Sunday back.

  1. Benefits that mean something

Employees today look beyond traditional work perks; they’re drawn to companies that offer meaningful life help. For most people, the Sunday Scaries have the same root causes – overload, tiredness, and/or having to navigate those sometimes-tricky colleague relationships. Perks such as subsidised counselling, a free wellbeing platform membership, and access to flexible local workspaces, can offer a direct way of tackling those issues. There are other gains to be made from this too – IWG’s Hybrid Talent Magnet study found that 88% of HR executives believed they would reduce staff turnover if they offered more focussed wellness benefits.

  1. Monday morning space

There is nothing wrong with a slower start on a Monday. Now, we’re not talking about no work, but how about no commute? Monday is one of the key days that hybrid workers choose not to travel into their head office, opting to work closer to home instead. Office attendance is 23% higher across Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays than on Mondays and Fridays, according to IWG data. Helping employees make that choice by offering them access to local coworking spaces suited to their lives, can be hugely empowering.

You could also think about how effective your Monday morning meetings are. Travis Wright, Chief Marketing Technologist at CCP Global, advocatesNo Meeting Mondays”. He writes, “I’m not always successful with the No Monday Meeting but minimising meetings that day has been very effective in my overall weekly productivity.” Perhaps instead you could try scheduling your Monday meetings for the afternoon so that any prep can be done that morning, avoiding the temptation to get ahead on a Sunday evening.

  1. Focus time and flow state

One key feeling behind the Sunday Scaries is that the week ahead is long. Five whole days lying in waiting like a marathon obstacle course. But what if the week was divided into a series of mini-events? The hybrid model allows for more structured time management because the week can be split up into occasional head office days (for collaborative projects and team events), and more days spent working closer to home, for solo work time and deep-focus tasks.

That flexibility allows workers to mentally break down the week ahead into achievable chunks, as well as tailor their working style to reach their own peak productivity. Working a Monday at an office near home, for example, means a much shorter commute and fewer interruptions. Psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi coined the term ‘flow state’ to describe that moment when a person is utterly absorbed by a task. If you could start your week, and perhaps finish it that way too, with a day of focussed “flow state” work, you could enjoy your weekend safe in the knowledge that you’ve achieved all you can.

  1. The multitasking myth

Finally, let’s put this myth of multitasking to bed – it is rarely the way to get good work done. As author James Clear writes: “Yes, it is possible, for example, to watch TV while cooking dinner or to answer an email while talking on the phone. What is impossible, however, is concentrating on two tasks at once.”

By properly addressing and analysing the deadlines we set, we can avoid that hyper-productivity expectation that often fuels the Sunday Scaries. You could try using qualitative KPIs to measure success, celebrating creativity and innovation, rather than focusing on quantitative output.

Monday morning work dread feels like it’s been around forever, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay. The hybrid era has changed so much about our working lives, that whether we follow the steps above or carve out our own personal working ideals, it’s far more in our power now, to enjoy work and map out a career that fits.

Find out more about Spaces and see how we can make your Monday mornings great by getting in touch.

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