Suffering From Burnout At Work? 'Quiet Fridays' Could Be The Answer

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Unrecognizable woman typing on laptop while lying in bed
ingwervanille via Getty Images
Unrecognizable woman typing on laptop while lying in bed

It’s Friday evening, the clock has just struck 5:00 pm and it’s time to say hello to the weekend, even though you’re feeling completely fried from your day of work.

Having two days to yourself isn’t a lot, which is why most people want to make the most of their free time. This means somehow trying to fit doing admin, meeting your friends, going to a bottomless brunch, seeing your partner and going to the gym into just 48 precious hours.

When Sunday rolls around, you’re exhausted and there goes any chance of feeling rested and ready for the week ahead.

Do you know what you need? A quiet weekend – and apparently it could do wonders for your mental health according to the experts.

We’re not talking taking the entire weekend to do nothing – this is all about giving yourself a quieter end to your work week in order to make your weekend more chill.

“A ‘quiet weekend’ is where employees front-load their work to create space for a quieter end of the week,” Jill Cotton, a career trends expert at Glassdoor says.

“For those with a traditional Monday-to-Friday schedule, this often means clearing Fridays of long meetings, hard deadlines, highly collaborative activities or tasks that can’t be completed in a day. And for those with the flexibility to work from home, Fridays are a popular choice as they begin to wind down for the weekend.”

Cotton advises saving tasks for Friday which need specific focus or extra headspace and that can be completed alone.

She says that by opting for a slower weekend, starting with your Friday at work, could be the answer to having a better work-life balance.

If you step into the weekend still wired from a stressful week, two days may not be enough to decompress and switch off from your job - risking the Sunday Scaries (dreading the return to work on Monday on a Sunday night).

Instead, quiet weekends can help employees sign off fully at the end of their working week - protecting their precious days off and allowing them to recharge and bring their best selves back to work after the weekend.

However, don’t mistake taking an easier Friday as quit quitting though.

“Quiet weekends are purposefully structured to maximise your productivity during the week while putting yourself in a great position to enjoy the weekend,” says Cotton.

“When done right, quiet weekends can be a clever tactic for employees to protect their work-life balance and get the most out of their job.”

The pandemic changed our work/life balance and although the lockdown is over, people are still struggling to perfect the relationship between their home and work lives.

“It’s unsustainable to work at full speed every day or to fill your calendar with high-pressure projects with little breaks. Creating a forced moment of calm (ie. the quiet weekend) helps achieve a better work-life balance,” Cotton adds.

Having a quiet weekend doesn’t mean lounging around doing nothing on a Friday. It simply means prioritising yourself and making sure you don’t burn out on the weekends.

“Quiet weekends can help employees sign off fully at the end of their working week - protecting their precious days off and allowing them to recharge and bring their best selves back to work after the weekend,” advises Cotton.

So, put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb,’ this Friday and see how you feel come Monday.

How to incorporate a quiet weekend into your work-life balance

  • Be transparent about your quiet weekend. If you want to use Fridays for focused time, structure your week in advance and be open with those who may need your input to complete their tasks so they can also effectively plan their workloads.

  • Be open to change. Quiet weekends may not be possible every week - and that’s ok. Last-minute projects may fall on your plate, but with extra headspace scheduled for the end of the week, you will mentally have the capacity to take it on and still move positively into the weekend.

  • Don’t break the trust of your team. Clearing your last day at work from meetings and hard deadlines will allow you to be available if your boss or co-workers need you. Quiet weekends aren’t a day off - make it known you are still contactable on your focused days.
  • Prioritise essential tasks on Fridays that will set your Monday up for success. This will reduce the risk of Sunday scaries.

  • Be realistic about what you want to achieve on your quiet day. Set goals you can complete by the end of the week to stop work hanging over your head through the weekend.