Clever Carly: All in a Week’s Work
The science behind which day of the week is most appropriate for your meeting
It’s Thursday, which means we’re one step closer to Friday and the weekend. And thank goodness for that, because, honestly, it’s been a long week.
I’m sure many of you can relate: With so many to-dos to tackle, it’s easy for planners to feel dragged down by the workweek, especially because, for many of us, clocking in on the weekend is an all-too-common occurrence.
But enough about us. What’s important is how attendees feel during the week—and it turns out there’s some social science behind that. Sure, you might not have control over attendees’ schedules, but based on the research below, you do have the power to coordinate events to guests’ moods and energies to maximize your meeting. And that is something worth exploring. So, without further ado …
Many planners avoid the dreaded Monday meeting, but it turns out Mondays aren’t as bleak as everyone thinks. People might claim to hate them, but if you ask them to rate their mood, it’s about average with the rest of the week. Additionally, after two days off, people often feel fresh, renewed and ready to tackle the coming week’s obstacles.
What this means for meetings: After having a weekend to reset, Monday meetings might be more productive than planners might think—though they still might be met with some grumbles.
OK, people might say Mondays are the worst, but professionally speaking, Wednesdays take the cake. Moods are lower thanks to the fact that it’s the furthest day from the weekend—both the previous weekend and the one upcoming. The result: feelings of being bogged down by work with no clear end in sight.
What this means for meetings: Unlike the stress-relieving meeting antics of Tuesdays, try going for mood-brightening elements to generate a positive atmosphere instead. Aromatherapy, for example, can energize participants and create a stimulating environment. Just having plants as part of your meeting décor can also boost attendees’ moods. Geraniums, lavender, ferns and ivy in particular are known to tap into feelings of goodwill.
Not quite the weekend, Thursdays keep people rooted in work—but with one foot out the door toward the weekend. Anticipation for a break away from work is building, and with it people’s energy and mood.
What this means for meetings: Save participation-required or high-energy meetings for Thursdays, when attendees are likelier to play along with an interactive agenda.
Ah, yes, Friday. Similar to Mondays, the last day of the workweek seems to generate a specific feeling of admiration for being close to the weekend, but there isn’t much proof to back up claims that Friday is actually better than other days. That said, its proximity to the weekend does tend to make it more memorable than its midweek predecessors, which can more easily be confused for one another.
What this means for meetings: Come Friday, attendees are ready for the weekend, so avoid in-depth, serious meetings, especially on a Friday afternoon. (A 4:30 p.m. meeting? How could you!) Because Fridays are also less likely to be confused with Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, this might also be primetime gatherings with memorable news or agendas. But again, be sure to keep it upbeat and light.
What About the Weekend?
Many people use the weekend as a time to break from work and relax, so be respectful of attendees’ personal time. Does your meeting really need to be on a Saturday? If you can’t make a rational case for it, probably not. (That said, Saturdays are reported to have the lowest number of delayed flights, so destination meeting planners, take that for what you will.)
Another thing to note: Not every culture or industry considers Saturday and Sunday the weekend. For example, some Muslim cultures work a Saturday-to-Wednesday workweek, making Thursday and Friday the weekend. Like always, do your research and align your meeting goals and strategies to your clients to ensure the most attendance and engagement.
Remember, there’s really no wrong way to throw a meeting, but the “when” does matter. Closing your eyes and picking a random day won’t cut it, so do a little digging into what makes the most sense for your meeting purpose and attendees. It might take more time and strategy on your end, but that, my friends, is all in a week’s work.
Until next time.