CDI Corporation

Helping Employees Beat the Sunday Night Blues


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Weekends are supposed to be for enjoyment and relaxation, essentially a time to unwind from the busy work week. Most importantly, weekends provide us with time to focus on our personal lives, creating balance between work, friends and family, and pleasure. However, what happens when weekend fun comes to a close and starts to turn into Sunday night blues? While it’s understandable that we all wish weekends could last longer, a strong case of Sunday night blues that persists week after week, likely points to unhappy employees who feel overworked and unappreciated, eventually causing them to leave the company. Consider whether the majority of your employees have deep stress and anxiety about returning to work on Mondays. What does this say about the culture of the organization and its ability to retain top performers and valuable contractors? If employees are calling out with numerous “sick day” Mondays, this is probably a strong indication of a problem within the organization.

When a recent Monster study asked participants “Are your ‘Sunday Night Blues’ bad enough to make you want a new job?”, 76 percent of U.S. respondents who admitted to having Sunday night blues, said they are “really bad.” According to the survey, 62 percent of global respondents who have the Sunday night blues additionally reported they are “really bad.”

“Insight like this should prompt companies to revisit their work expectations and how they are impacting employee morale and productivity,” says Neil Lebovits, vice president, specialty talent solutions for CDI. “When you consider that more job opportunities are available due to our improved labor market, candidates are feeling more confident about leaving companies that have overwhelming, high-stress, environments that are unrewarding. Helping staff better manage their workflow, and making adjustments that can lead to improved work-life balance, are steps employers can take to prevent top talent from leaving.”

Lebovits provides the following tips for creating an environment where employees look forward to Monday mornings:

Energize the team with Monday morning meetings. Save constructive criticism for later in the week and use this time to congratulate team members on positive outcomes from the previous week. Chart the course for the current week, and identify challenges and resources that are needed to complete tasks so everyone feels they have the support they need. Add a fun and motivating message. If the Monday meeting is boring/routine, then consider changing it. Maybe it’s time.

Provide more workplace flexibility and opportunities to recharge throughout the week. Whether it’s telecommuting, a flexible schedule or office perks, your blended workforce needs to feel a sense of work-life balance in order to be happy and healthy. Periodically survey both your employees and your contractors to find out their workplace needs, and determine what improvements the organization can make to help workers maintain a sense of balance so they don’t burn out.

The fact is that most employers have made the workplace more like a marathon, instead of a series of sprints. Productivity experts agree that periods of rest and renewal are critical to maximum production. Plan on breaks for your staff. Try to insist that they take their vacation. This won’t cost you more money, it will gain you more productivity. If you have sales people, for example, try to have them work in blocks of call time. Make it fun! Work is called work for a reason, and weekends are more fun, but an employer can take a big bite out of those Sunday night blues.

Ask staff to take some time at the end of each Friday to create a to-do list for the next week. By prioritizing and scheduling things for the next week, employees can alleviate stress about coming into a mountain of work on Mondays and not knowing where to get started. Remind them of their motivation to do this. Most studies show that money is NOT the number one reason why people stay at a job (or look for a new one), so make sure to give them or remind them about a sense of purpose. We all need it. That’s our true motivator.

Encourage workers to use smartphone apps for calendars and note-taking to manage tasks and situations that arrive during the weekend. Since many people now sync their Outlook calendars with their smartphones, they can use this as a tool to prioritize when they will address issues that occur after hours or on weekends, instead of feeling overwhelmed at the thought of attacking these things immediately on Monday morning. The fact is that so much stress is often caused by being unorganized; thus having too many balls in the air, and not knowing which will fall during the week.

“By initiating strategies to counteract Sunday night blues, employers can demonstrate they are committed to creating an enjoyable workplace where permanent and contract employees are provided with the support, flexibility and resources they need to be as productive as possible,” adds Lebovits. “That can send a strong message to your team, especially your top performers who are more likely to stay or continue their contracts, when they feel their employers are invested in helping them create more balance in their lives that can ultimately lead to a more successful tenure with the company.”

Recent CDI Analysis

“Helping staff better manage their workflow, and making adjustments that can lead to improved work-life balance, are steps employers can take to prevent top talent from leaving.”

Neil Lebovits
Vice President, Specialty Talent Solutions
CDI Corporation

Employment Situation (U.S.)

According to the Wall Street Journal, the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, sent a mixed labor market reading for August, as the number of new jobs fell below the 218,000 monthly average recorded between January and July, and the unemployment rate fell more than anticipated. Financial institutions and economists had hoped the report would have provided a more concrete basis for the Federal Reserve to determine whether to raise interest rates during its September 16-17 meeting.

The nation added 173,000 jobs during the month and unemployment fell to 5.1 percent, the lowest it has been since 2008. Professional and business services added 33,000 jobs, while retail, construction, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, and government were largely unchanged. The mining and manufacturing sectors both sustained losses.

In the past 12 months, hourly earnings have grown by 2.2 percent, a positive sight for both economic strength and consumer spending. CBS News reported that these improvements, may finally encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates. If the Fed chooses to do so, it will be the first time in 10 years that rates have been changed. The source noted, however that an unstable stock market and a low inflation rate, in addition to China’s financial issues, could persuade officials to hold off on making any major adjustments.

The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded by
clicking here.

Employment Situation (Canada)

Canada’s labour situation saw little change in August, according to data released by Statistics Canada. Although the nation experienced visible job growth, its unemployment rate climbed slightly to 7 per cent after being at 6.8 per cent for the last six months.

Overall, 12,000 new jobs were created throughout Canada last month. This was the net result of the addition of 54,000 full-time jobs and the loss of 42,000 part-time positions.

The industry that added the most jobs was public administration, a sector that grew by 14,000 positions. Employment in professional, scientific and other support services dropped by .7 per cent, but has increased by 2.2 per cent since August 2014. Job gains in business, building and other support services increased by .8 per cent in August, and by 4.1 per cent over the last 12 months.

The Financial Post reported that while Canada’s unemployment rate grew last month, the jobs report was stronger than economists had anticipated. The news source explained that industry professionals had predicted a net loss of 4,500 jobs in August, in addition to a generally sluggish economy. The country’s economic growth is expected to be minimal for the remainder of 2015, largely due to significant losses in major industries like manufacturing and construction. However, August’s jobs report indicates that other industries are steadily increasing their payrolls, which could help offset these drops, reported the source.

Canadian ES Report:
Labour Force Survey, August 2015

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