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Cure Your Employees’ Monday Morning Blues

July 27, 2015

By: Terri Williams

Do your employees appear sluggish and lethargic on Monday mornings? Do they seem to go through the motions when they arrive to work at the beginning of the week?

According to a survey of American workers conducted by Mars, Inc.:

  • Only 42% feel more energized at the beginning of the workweek, and only 30% feel more confident at the beginning of the workweek
  • Surprisingly, 17% are more powered up at the end of the workweek

However, regarding productivity levels during the day, most workers fare better at the beginning of the workday:

  • 33% say their productivity levels peak when they first arrive
  • 42% feel more productive the first 1-2 hours of the workday
  • 15% say they are more productive during the middle of the day
  • 10% report the highest productivity levels at the end of the workday

The survey results were revealed at the Great Place to Work Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas, as part of the Rethink the Daily Grind initiative. The campaign’s goal is to help organizations discover ways to increase engagement and collaboration.

But first, let’s analyze some of the reasons workers are tired in the morning and need extra energy – especially on Monday morning. According to Glenn Riseley, founder, and president at Global Corporate Challenge, an organization developed to improve the health and productivity of workers, “When employees arrive at work, and they’ve not had enough sleep, or the quality of their sleep has been compromised, this impacts a suite of elements that in turn compromise their ability to perform their jobs effectively.”

Riseley says that modern workplace cultures are at odds with our biological and psychological make-up, and employees are struggling to adapt. “The result is a constant feeling of being overwhelmed, and this ‘always on’ state is impacting employees’ lives inside and outside of work.”

Ultimately, Riseley says employees must take personal responsibility for getting enough sleep at night and eating healthy and exercising since these factors all affect the worker’s well being.

However, employees spend the majority of their waking hours at work. So what can companies do to help engage them more and perhaps increase productivity and performance during those critical morning hours – while also doing their part to encourage healthy eating and exercise?

The Rethink the Daily Grind campaign offers several creative tips. For example:

  • Coordinate a “Monday Morning Happy Hour,” where people can connect and get energized for the week over a hot beverage and some breakfast snacks
  • Implement once-a-month “Casual Monday,” and allow employees to dress casually
  • Start the week with a positive vibe by recognizing accomplishments and milestones – both at work and personally. Celebrate moments like work anniversaries, birthdays, and life events like buying a house or having a baby

In addition to tips for energizing employees on Monday mornings, Mars recommends other ways to improve connectivity and employee well being:

  • Feature inspiration boards for people to post articles, quotes, pictures, and other things that motivate them
  • Encourage people to think outside the conference room space for meetings (e.g., walking meetings, brown-bag lunch meetings in a collaborative space); allow them to get a fresh perspective in a location outside the typical meeting environment.
  • Host a “Be Well” fair to promote the use of office perks like fitness facilities and nutrition services
  • Install “Work-Family Photo Album” bulletin boards and post pictures of office events, projects, and other key moments of success. This may seem simple, but engaging the workforce even in small ways, correlates to increased business performance.
  • Place office refreshments in easy-to-access places around the office to encourage quick work breaks and camaraderie as an integral part of the day.

Implementing these tips can help your organization create a welcoming work environment that energizes employees. By rethinking the daily grind, and reconsidering when, how, and where to create fun, engaging opportunities, you can create the kind of culture that fosters collaboration and increases productivity.

Terri Williams

Terri Williams began writing professionally in 1997, working with a large nonprofit organization. Her business, education, and lifestyle articles have appeared in various online publications including Yahoo, USA Today, The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News & World Report University Directory, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago. Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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