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Sunday night blues demotivating workers for week ahead

Sunday night blues, a feeling of dread before the start of the working week, is having a negative effect on worker wellbeing across the UK.

Kirsten Furber, people director at broadcaster Channel 4, has conducted preliminary research into workers experiencing Sunday night blues in conjunction with the University of Exeter. 

Speaking at The Watercooler wellbeing event on 25 May 2022, Furber said: "If we’re starting Monday not feeling in our best way, what does that mean in terms of the impact we’re having on others that we work with?"

"It may be that you absolutely love your job but you still might feel Sunday night blues."

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The research found that Sunday night blues can occur at any time on a Sunday, with the feeling being worse when somebody anticipates an overwhelming work week on the horizon. 

Although working from home on a Monday had been found to mitigate the feeling, other factors such as high expectations, high workloads and unfinished tasks have made Sunday night blues worse.

"Imposter syndrome was also a factor," Furber added. "A feeling of 'I’ve not been working for two days, I need to get myself back into the groove' but it might take people a bit of time to do so."

According to the research, factors which helped alleviate Sunday night blues included keeping work and non-work separate, and being able to plan a schedule in advance.

"It can be challenging as people can’t work their schedule out, but people found that if there was time in the week allotted just for them, they could get some control back."

Furber suggested that pushing certain tasks back from first thing on a Monday could be beneficial.

She said: "We’re all really busy. Working on Teams and Zoom has made us very task driven, but are we giving ourselves and our team space?

"Is 9:30 on Monday morning really a good time to be providing updates on projects or going over sales figures? If you’re not in the right frame of mind, maybe it's better to do it on a Tuesday or a Monday afternoon. It's about considering when people are going to be in the right place."