Is the ‘Friday Feeling’ Always a Good Thing?

According to a new study in the UK, British workers now switch off for the weekend at 2.29 pm! The research found that most of us wind down long before going home, with 59 percent admitting to taking the last day of the week much easier.

Many admit to ignoring calls and messages in order to go home early. The British Airways study of 2,000 people found that 61 percent of workers wind down earlier on the last day because they claim to have worked over their contracted hours during the week and insist their boss still gets ‘value for money’.

If we translate this ‘winding down’ feeling throughout industry and across all cultures, it is interesting to work out how much working time is lost. If we calculate that each employee is unproductive for three hours on the last day of every week — over 50 weeks per year, this is approximately 150 hours per year, per worker. Just think of how much more productivity would be gained if we could modify that mindset.

For those readers who love their jobs, the chances are that the ‘day before the weekend’ is the same as any other because you enjoy what you do. But for those who are working primarily for the money, those feelings may not be shared.

So, How Can we Change this Culture?

Why not deliberately schedule meetings for Friday afternoon instead of Monday morning, thereby ensuring a working commitment right up until the end of the week?

An interesting thought and one that I think comes down to the example set by senior managers. If managers and team leaders go early, switch-off half way through the day or are just not accessible, then the rest of the workforce may well follow by example. However, if managers are seen to be working until the last moment — and that this is the expectation of their team — then they will be leading by example.

If you struggle to motivate, inspire and produce high performing teams, you would benefit from our Executive Training Programmes, proven to boost personal and team productivity.  Productivity is a matter of professionalism. I may not have the definitive solution to boosting productivity at the end of the week, but here are some ideas of things to do to ensure that you still have mental energy right up to the weekend.

  • Recap

Use the last day of the week to look at what you have achieved during the previous four or five days and what is on the agenda for next week. Sending your boss a progress report of your activity over the past week is a great way to reinforce trust in your ability and can also advance your future career prospects. You might also consider sending progress reports to your clients who will be most impressed with your commitment when the rest of the workforce have rushed off home.

  • Plan

Use the last day of the week to get ahead of next week’s tasks. Clear up your desk and tidy your mind in readiness for the next project. Create a list of the tasks you need to do on the first day of next week, which should ensure that you ‘hit the deck running’ with maximum efficiency as soon as you arrive at your desk.

  • Strategise

Make a list of the best and worst things that happened during the week. Think about how you can build upon the best things and minimise or eliminate the worst. Ask yourself, are there items that you can do more efficiently in the future or maybe you are aware of a personal skills gap that needs filling? Perhaps you could improve upon your preparation time for future meetings.

  • Look around the office

If many have already left, then you will be the one person still around to provide support to those colleagues and managers still working. Remember, the day before the weekend should be a time for planning and assessment for the week ahead because those activities can have a powerful, long-term impact upon your future.

How do you spend the last day of every week? Watching the clock or working non-stop? I would love to know.

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