Working Week Facts That Might Surprise You

By Susanna Quirke

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Powering through that 9-5, Monday to Fri? Here are some stats to justify your afternoon slump – or that Monday morning cloud of darkness.



“When I get home I take some sleeping pills and within what seemed like half an hour of unconsciousness it was Monday morning again.”

? Irvine Welsh, ‘Filth’

Steel yourself: Monday is statistically our least happy day of the week, and the UK has the most unhappy Mondays of all. According to a study by Marmite in 2011, the average person in the UK does not smile on a Monday until 11.16am. The same study indicated that we get little work done on the first day of the week, with an average of only 3.5 hours actually dedicated to being productive.

You’re most likely to be sick – or ‘sick’ – on Mondays. And that’s probably not a skewed stat, because more people commit suicide and have heart attacks on Mondays than any other day of the week. Stay safe out there, Great Britain.



“Creativity is a highfalutin word for the work I have to do between now and Tuesday.”

- Ray Kroc

Tuesday is our weekly ‘war day’ – or at least, so the nomenclature would suggest. Named after Tiw, the Norse god of combat, victory and war glory, it’s shown by research to be the most productive day of the week. The French, Spanish and Italian terms (mardi, martes, martedi) all recall Tiw’s Roman equivalent, Mars.

Tuesday is also home to our favourite foodie festival of spring: Pancake Day. The most flips anyone has ever done with a pancake? 140 in one minute, according to the Guiness Book of Records. Pretty sweet.



“Practical! On Wednesday afternoons I could be practically anything.”

- Kit Williams, ‘Masquerade’

Ah, the dreaded Hump Day! According to research by St Tropez, women look their oldest at 3.30pm on Wednesdays. One can only assume that the same is true of men, for the study exclusively surveyed females. 12% of women find Wednesday the most stressful day of the week and two thirds experience a ‘slump in energy levels’ in the afternoon. So sorry ladies – this might not be the day for you!

You might know Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, but were you aware that the Wednesday before Easter is known as ‘Spy Wednesday’? Alas, it’s not so-called in honour of James Bond, but after the betrayal of Jesus by Judas.

And lastly, according to research from the University of Vermont, bosses are most receptive to requests on a Wednesday. So get that Christmas party query in quick.



"This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays."

- Douglas Adams, ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’

Arthur Dent wasn’t the only one. Thursday is the second least productive day of the working week, after Friday.

In Buddhist Thailand, Thursday is the traditional day for the wai khru, a ceremony held at the beginning of the school year. As a result, Thursdays are considered an auspicious day to begin one’s education; graduations, similarly, tend to fall on Thursdays.

In terms of online culture, people seem to enjoy trying to make a ‘thing’ of Thursdays, from throwbacks to green shirts. The latter is particularly fun, since wearing green on Thursdays was supposedly an indication of homosexuality in 50s/60s America. We’re calling bullsh*t.



“It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday.”

- Rebecca Black, ‘Friday’

Tired from the working week, or super-hyped for the weekend? Research from Nissan suggests that Friday is the least productive day of the week for UK employees. But never fear – it’s also our happiest, and what’s a loss of productivity among friends?

Friday, particularly when falling on the 13th of the month, is considered unlucky by some. And maybe they have a point: many of the worst earthquakes in history struck on a Friday, including 2003’s one in Bam, Iran that killed 40,000 people. For the superstitious among us, the scientific term for the fear of Friday the 13th is paraskavedekatriaphobia. No, we can’t use that in a sentence.

So next time you need to file a request, remember it’s Wednesday you need to aim for. Got a daughter starting school? That’s a Thursday you want. But if you’re looking for a way to get that work clock ticking faster, I’m afraid only time can heal your wounds.


Susanna Quirke writes for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit their website.

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