Say No to Sunday Scaries! How to Reduce Employee Churn

What is employee churn? It’s the number of people who voluntarily leave your company or were laid off. And one of the downsides is that it can be very expensive. The dollar cost of employee churn varies, but you can pretty much count on losing the equivalent of 50% of the salary of every staff member who calls it quits. Besides its obvious effect on bottom lines, employee churn also leads to toxic work environments, low morale, and poor performance. 

The employee churn issues were recently brought to light through the social media movement known as “Sunday Scaries” in which 9 to 5ers share all job-related things that overwhelm them the day before they return to work on Monday. Most of the scariest Scaries are direct causes of employee churn and, based on the popularity of #SundayScaries (which has spawned countless articles, a podcast, and even an entire vitamin line), it’s pretty evident employers need to take a closer look at these pervasive issues. 

What are the Sunday Scaries exactly? 

The Sunday Scaries can be anything that gives an employee anxiety about returning to work after the weekend, but the biggest culprits include the following: 

  • Sending or answering emails over the weekend. Studies show this is harmful to both the health of your employees (and their families too)!
  • Allowing project scope creep to invade your time off. 43% of all projects are delayed by some sort of timeline, budget, or errors. 
  • Continuing the Slack chat well after 5 p.m. on Friday. Even Slack doesn’t Slack on the weekends — it’s considered impolite. 
  • Failing to rest and recharge before going back into the office. Emotional exhaustion and burnout can begin wreaking havoc on your body, mind, and spirit after just one weekend of overtime. 
  • Being unable to set or keep clear work/life boundaries. Doing so helps boost productivity, sparks career fulfillment, and gives employees a greater sense of meaning in life

Still wondering what this all has to do with employees walking out on you? We’ll explain.

What do the Sunday Scaries have to do with employee churn? 

At this point, you might be thinking the Sunday Scaries seem a little annoying, but they’re kind of funny. And isn’t everyone stressed out about work? 

However, the seemingly light-hearted nature of momentary social-media-driven empowerment through an entertaining and fluffy hashtag is really anything but. Here’s why. 

  • Workplace anxiety will increase your employee churn rate.
  • Being overworked or burnt out creates overwhelming staff churn. 
  • A systematic work-life imbalance will result in losing talented employees.
  • Failure to acknowledge leadership influence can increase the cost of employee turnover. For example, an email received from a teammate over the weekend is one thing, but an email received from a manager or boss is another. Even if they insist that the message doesn’t need an immediate response, it still puts the employee in an uncomfortable position. 

Phew, got all that? Now that you know what’s at stake, we can review some ideas for repairing or preventing the issue entirely. 

7 practical tips for beating Sunday Scaries and decreasing employee churn

One of the ways you can help employees suffering from the Sunday Scaries is to provide them with information and tools (like the kind outlined in this video) that can help them deal with their feelings and make a plan of action. 

But really, the goal here is prevention. So here are some things you can do to keep these issues from happening in the first place. 

1. Save time by integrating business apps to ensure everyone is up to date and information is in one convenient place. 

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There’s no reason to bog your team down with busy work like digging through folders to find the right files or checking to make sure all the latest data matches up. Integrating all project-related tools (including popular apps like Salesforce and Tableau) also saves employees from having to switch between multiple tabs to complete each task. Really anything you can do to relieve unnecessary stress and save them time will greatly help your colleagues ward off the Sunday Scaries. 

2. Move communication from inboxes to a centralized communication platform. 

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Email is one of the biggest causes of employee churn thanks to unspoken social and psychological pressure to get back to the sender right away. It’s also incredibly inefficient. Finding information hidden within long and confusing email threads is stressful. Plus it’s harder to keep close track and respond to every single client inquiry no matter how organized your inbox is. 

The psychology of choice tells us it’s better to categorize and limit our options whenever possible in order to avoid anxiety. If work-related messages stay on the work-related platform, there’s no accidental inbox refreshing, premature email sending, or any of the seemingly limitless options that being connected to a 24/7 communication tool makes us worry about. 

This is also why a centralized communication platform is so important — not only does it keep things organized, it also helps streamline comments so participants can review them in context and chronological order. With this method, team members can quickly catch up on important details during work hours instead of worrying about anything slipping through the cracks if they’re not constantly keeping up via email over the weekend. 

3. Work to decrease cycle times for faster progress.

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Better cycle times equals more-productive employees. And more productive employees equals less of a workload for everyone. If your team repeatedly takes work home on the weekends, that’s a serious indication that your process is inefficient, not your employees. Here are some suggested ways to decrease cycle time: 

4. Use an agile solution that allows employees to prioritize how and when they work.

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Agile methodologies support high-functioning teams Monday through Friday by allowing them to be more flexible. They can easily reprioritize tasks and change directions quickly when new information or requests come up without wasting multiple cycles trying to find a solution. It’s an empowering process that helps them immediately get clear about what needs to happen and when so they can take action faster than ever before. 

Agile methodologies also help employees improve work-life balance, an underlying issue for all Sunday Scaries. Instead of wondering how they’ll get all their work done or juggle personal and professional obligations, they’ll have immediate access to relevant project information at home or on the road. That means they can continue being productive when it’s best for them, without missing a beat, no matter when they choose to get their work done. 

5. Eliminate the need for constant updates with automated real-time visibility tools. 

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Sending stakeholders progress reports and sitting through status update meetings takes time away from doing actual work. What’s more, lack of visibility creates a sense of the unknown, which causes stress for many people. If employees have a clear view of the overall project, what tasks are in progress, when they’re due, and key areas of ownership at any given time, they can properly plan their own week. And with real-time access to the same information, key stakeholders will demand fewer time-consuming updates and dig into the details on their own. 

6. Streamline workloads using project templates and request forms.  

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Who doesn’t love a good template? This simple management trick takes common tasks and turns them into repeatable recipes for success anyone on your team can follow. Not only does this help employees standardize their processes, but it also eliminates unnecessary guesswork, lightening the load in areas where it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. 

7. Provide personal project dashboards so employees can develop better time management skills. 

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At-a-glance responsibility lists with built-in accountability and up-to-date timelines? Sign us up! Personal project dashboards can show employees things like what tasks have been assigned to them, when they’re due (pre-sorted in order by priority), what still needs to be done, and which tasks have to be done eventually but don’t have their own concrete deadlines. 

Now you’re ready to defend your business against the consequences of talent departure! 


Sunday Scaries and their best friend, employee churn, are no match for team leadership when you choose to implement these and other productivity tips. Now that you know what to look out for, be sure to make note of any telltale signs of burnout. And, if you see them, act fast! It’s not an exaggeration to say the health of your business and your employees depends on it.

Ready to stop employee churn and grow your business? Start your 2-week Wrike free trial today!

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