My journey to work today was delayed by half an hour due to someone becoming seriously ill on the Jubilee underground line. I’ve no idea what happened to this unfortunate person (in spite of my delayed journey, I genuinely wish them well!) but I found myself reflecting how often this happens on a Monday.
There is scientific evidence that we are at a 20% higher risk of a heart attack on a Monday morning than any other day of the week. Not only are mornings generally a bad time, due to high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, but also, as researchers at Tokyo Women’s Medical University discovered, our blood pressure and heart rate rises due to the stress of returning to work. This syndrome, similar to jet lag, has recently been termed as ‘social lag’ – the readjustment to early starts that we subject our bodies to every Monday after a weekend of late nights and lie-ins.
It’s no perhaps no surprise therefore that Monday is also the most popular day for employees to pull a sickie. According to research by Mercers, an astonishing 35% of all sick leave is taken on a Monday, compared to only 3% on a Friday.
In a separate study by Mind, the UK mental health charity, researchers found that 25% of people say that their weekends are ruined by the thought of having to return to work on a Monday – a sobering thought for any employer or manager.
As someone who officially ‘likes Mondays’, I’m aware that I’m championing a counter-trend. Following the theme of my most recent blog post on health & safety, employee engagement professionals have a crucial role to play in helping people combat their mondayphobia. By helping create a great place to work for employees, we’re not only promoting the general happiness of mankind, we’re also saving lives into the bargain. Inspired by such a noble cause such, is it any wonder that I regularly skip off to work on a Monday morning?