When Monday arrives, no one is really in a mood to work. It is natural to feel some lethargy along with the disappointment that another weekend has vanished. It can be quite a challenge to shrug off that ennui and get back to work, especially in winters, when the warmth of the comforter feels like heaven. Therefore, little wonder that productivity of employees on Monday is usually low. But wait, isn’t this the time of work-from-home, work-from-anywhere and the more recent hybrid model? Most people are working remotely for most of the week.
With the pandemic doing away with the daily office-going routine for most professionals. Does the phenomenon of Monday morning blues still exist?
“We had all returned to the office after the second wave died down, but now that the third wave is here, we are all back to working from home. Hence, the Monday blues are no longer felt”
Udbhav Ganjoo, head-HR, global operations, India, emerging Asia and access markets, Viatris
Speaking to HR leaders from different sectors, HRKatha found that many do not really feel the impact of Monday blues today, since most people are working from home and being more productive too.
“Today, work is continuous. Unlike the pre-pandemic days, there is an integration of workplace and home,” points out Rajesh Balaji, CHRO, Matrimony.com.
Well, the very trigger for Monday Blues was the two-day weekend break from work that employees enjoyed. This ‘break’ in the true sense of the word, created a discontinuation of work, which actually resulted in Monday blues. The blues were experienced on Fridays as well. After toiling for five days, people eagerly waited for the weekend to come which is why, on a Friday too the level of productivity fell to a certain extent.
However, Balaji admits that changes are happening now. He believes that ‘Monday blues’ holds no relevance in a hybrid or a work-from-home model because “there is no disconnect from work at all”. In fact, now he observes that there is no impact on productivity either on Mondays or Fridays.
The relevance of the phenomenon of Monday blues will differ from sector to sector. Udbhav Ganjoo, head-HR, global operations, India, emerging Asia and access markets, Viatris, who works in the pharma sector, has views similar to that of Balaji.
“In a hybrid model, Monday blues may not be limited to Mondays alone, but will apply to the day one comes in to the office after a long duration of working from home”
Pradyumna Pandey, CHRO, Mother Dairy
Nothing has changed for people working in the field. Their routine and model of work remains the same, except that they need to be more cautious about their health.
For those operating from the corporate offices, reverting to work-from-home during the third wave, means there are no Monday morning blues as such. “We had all returned to the office after the second wave died down, but now that the third wave is here, we are all back to working from home. Hence, the Monday blues are no longer felt,” says Ganjoo.
Clearly, different working models seem to have different impacts. For professionals who are following a 100 per cent work-from-home model and not visiting the office at all, Monday blues have stopped troubling them. But what about those working in a hybrid model? Do they feel the same way?
Pradyumna Pandey, CHRO, Mother Dairy, who works in an essential services sector, makes a relevant point here. He recalls an instance when he was interviewing a candidate for an IT role. When Pandey asked the candidate why he was looking for a switch, the latter said that his previous employer wanted him work from office twice a week which he wasn’t willing to do. “I find that people do not really want to come to the office these days. More flexibility has made professionals reluctant to go to the office,” shares Pandey.
Pandey explains that in a hybrid work model, it is more difficult to be productive in the office, because the unwillingness to work is more prevalent.
“Like pre-pandemic days, I don’t see any dip in productivity on Mondays”
Rajesh Balaji, CHRO, Matrimony.com
Monday morning blues is simply another phrase to describe a weekend hangover. ‘Blues’ is a term used to refer to a kind of sad state of mind. When employees return to work after a weekend of partying and enjoying with friends, they find it difficult to switch to high-productivity mode from a relaxed state of mind, and feel overwhelmed or saddened by the sight of work. However, “in a hybrid model, people come to the office after three or even four days of being at home. With the time spent away from office being more, the reluctance to get to work will also be more,” explains Pandey.
Pandey is of the opinion that in a work-from-home model, the work can merely be managed at home, but actually completed only in the office. If people come to office after a long time, they will find more work piled up and waiting for them to attend to. Therefore, the urge to not work will be there. “In a hybrid model, Monday blues may not be limited to Mondays alone, but will apply to the day one comes in to the office after a long duration of working from home,” asserts Pandey.
The word ‘Monday blues’ can be traced back to the 1700s, when it is said to have first appeared in a book A Historical Development of the Present Political Constitution of the Germanic Empire (London, 1790) which was translated into English by Josiah Dornford. Since then, it has been commonly used in English literature. However, with time, thanks to the changes in working models, the very existence of this phenomenon is in question. Will the blues continue to be experienced by professionals on Mondays, or will they take on a different meaning at the workplace altogether? We will have to wait and see!