Sunday Dread- Why are women dreading returning to work on Monday?


With the retirement age set to increase, we are spending more time in work than ever, so it’s important that we enjoy our roles. Yet, new research by Avivafound that 70% of women feel as though their weekend is cut short because of a feeling of anxiety about work.

To get to the bottom of how much work is affecting our lives outside of the office, Aviva surveyed 2000 people in employment across various industries. Although the weekend is our valuable time to switch off, the research found that a quarter of women spend between three and five hours thinking about work during this precious switch-off period. One in five spend up to two hours checking work emails.

Winding down on a Friday night is something that everyone looks forward to – whether it’s getting in pyjamas and enjoying a glass of wine in front of the TV, hitting the gym or heading out to the local pub. However, the research showed that with the weight of the working week resting heavy on our shoulders, it takes women 1-2 hours to unwind on a Friday evening.

Why are women dreading returning to work on Monday?

Taking a closer look at the factors that lead to dreading Monday, a heavy workload, work taking over life during the week and unfinished projects are the top three reasons women feel anxiety about going back to work after the weekend.  Feeling this way affects sleep, with 84% of females reporting a bad night’s sleep on a Sunday night.

What could be done to ease Sunday dread?

The research found that implementing a ban on work emails over the weekend could alleviate Monday anxiety. Later starts on a Monday and options to work from home were also welcomed. 43% of females also said they would like to see a four-day week – a cause which has been championed a lot in the media as of late, with the Labour party officially adding it to their policy ahead of the next General Election. According to a paper by Henley Business School, two-thirds of businesses in the UK operating a four-day week reported improvements in productivity. The research concluded that a shorter week with full pay results in an uplift in physical and mental health for staff. However, a four-day week takes time and commitment to implement so it is not always possible, especially for smaller businesses and start-ups.


With stress and anxiety the single biggest cause of sick days in the UK, Workplace Wellbeing Specialist Josie Saville from 4and20million shares five simple ways that employees can reduce workplace anxiety:

  • Plan ahead– At the end of the day, write out your tasks for tomorrow and plan out the time using your calendar.
  • Biggest thing first – Make daunting tasks the first of the day to lighten the load.
  • Use your ‘out of office’ – Put your out of office alert on when you need uninterrupted time to complete tasks.
  • Have a shutdown ritual – Tell yourself work is finished for the day.
  • Utilise your brain – Downtime is vital to recharge.
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