Organizational Wellness

What Do Bare Minimum Mondays Mean for Employers?

Sep 25, 2023
Last Updated Sep 25, 2023

Everyone gets a case of the Monday blues every once in a while (if not the full-blow Sunday Scaries). A lot of us tend to feel a bit sluggish right at the beginning of the workweek, but instead of fighting the current, some people lean into it and go with the flow. “Bare Minimum Mondays” are gaining popularity, where employees voluntarily opt for minimal effort on the first day of the week. This intriguing trend raises important questions about the nature of motivation, the dynamics of employee engagement, and its potential implications for overall workplace productivity.

How can employers manage these Bare Minimum Monday techniques — do they also go with the flow or find new ways to motivate employees? Employers are challenged with uncovering the underlying causes of Bare Minimum Mondays and providing support to motivate employee engagement. This article will explore the impacts of Bare Minimum Mondays and how employers and HR leaders can respond to this trend to support their workforce better.

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Decoding Bare Minimum Mondays

First, what is Bare Minimum Mondays? Bare Minimum Mondays is a TikTok-driven workplace phenomenon where employees consciously limit their effort on the first day of the workweek. 

Part of this is nothing new: Mondays have traditionally been synonymous with a slow start and a lack of enthusiasm. This is often attributed to the time it takes to transition from leisure to work.

What is new is taking the norm step further by intentionally putting in the bare minimum level of effort into essential tasks at the start of the week

This shift in workplace culture is a window into a change in how employees perceive and approach their work, influenced by factors such as burnout, work-life balance, and job satisfaction. In response to the demands of modern work life, employees are evolving with their scheduling, too, seeking a more flexible and sustainable approach to their professional lives.

The Science Behind the Concept

Motivation is a central driver of human behavior, influencing how individuals approach tasks and goals. It is not a constant force. Motivation ebbs and flows, often influenced by external factors such as burnout, stress, and the demands of modern life. 

People’s moods are typically lower on Mondays. This is caused by multiple factors, including:

  • Sleep cycles are messed up. Staying out late and sleeping in on the weekend disrupts the body’s natural rhythms. This means that even if you slept well Sunday night, you could still feel sleepy on Monday morning. And we all know that when you’re tired it’s difficult to be motivated at work.
  • Mondays are a time of transition. People naturally dislike transition because it involves facing the unknown. On Mondays, the transition from relaxation to work can lead to a dip in motivation, affecting the level of effort individuals are willing to invest.

Most of us have heard the common phrase that getting started is half of the battle. This is true for the beginning of a workweek when people are transitioning from personal weekend time to work mode.

The Pros and Cons of Bare Minimum Mondays

The rise of remote and hybrid work has redefined traditional notions of productivity, collaboration, and employee experiences. As organizations embrace flexible work arrangements, it becomes imperative to explore the implications of these changes on employee engagement and satisfaction.

The Pros of Bare Minimum Mondays

As employees juggle the demands of work and personal life, the notion of easing into the workweek aligns with the pursuit of a healthier work-life wellness. While the concept might appear counterproductive at first glance, some argue that Bare Minimum Mondays could serve as a strategy to actually address certain challenges in the workplace. It acknowledges the reality that the abrupt transition from weekend life to work demands can result in reduced focus and energy. By providing employees with the freedom to approach the first day of the week with a slightly lowered workload or expectations, employers may inadvertently encourage a more gradual reentry into work mode and boost employee satisfaction at the same time. 

Offering employees more trust to get their work done within a flexible and autonomous work environment wherever possible can say a lot about your organizational culture. In fact, studies show that employees in high-trust work environments are76% more engaged than those in low-trust environments. When employees are granted the autonomy to determine their work pace and approach, it fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility. So by trusting employees to do their work and manage their workload, even if it means having a slower Monday, those employees could be even more engaged and productive than they would be in micromanaged environments. 

The Cons of Bare Minimum Mondays

This strategy is not without its potential pitfalls. Allowing a widespread practice of Bare Minimum Mondays could inadvertently reinforce the idea that Monday productivity is dispensable, impacting the overall work ethic and organizational performance. Striking the right balance between acknowledging the need for a gentle start to the week and maintaining a culture of proactive engagement is crucial.

Additionally, Bare Minimum Mondays could be seen as a double standard depending on the demands of different roles. The cadence of one person’s responsibilities may not be flexible enough to start their week in a more relaxed way, even if it is accepted. This could cause resentment or feelings of inequity.

Furthermore, Bare Minimum Mondays may exacerbate stress instead of decreasing it. This strategy requires employees to hold themselves accountable for getting their work done in a timely manner, and readjusting to a new time management strategy does not come naturally to everyone.

What HR Can Do

Employees with a bare minimum Mondays mindset may be suffering from employee burnout. Burnout wreaks havoc on an employee's mental and physical wellbeing. The key is to create an intentional strategy that helps employees set healthy work boundaries without losing steam too early on in the week.

Create Communication Channels

Establish open channels of communication to discuss burnout and the challenge of starting the work week. Encourage employees to provide feedback and suggestions of ways HR can support their work-life wellness. Conduct regular surveys to gauge employee perceptions of workloads. Include questions related to work-life wellness and employee autonomy. Open-ended questions can provide valuable insights into specific areas of impact.

Set Clear Expectations

It's important to set clear expectations regarding the tasks that need attention on each day (even Mondays). Clearly communicate which tasks are considered essential and which can be deferred. Clarity helps employees manage their responsibilities effectively while embracing the idea of easing into the workweek.

Encourage Flexibility and Autonomy

Empower employees with the autonomy to decide how they will distribute their tasks throughout the day. Some may prefer to tackle essential tasks in the morning and then gradually transition into other responsibilities, while others may choose to alternate between work and short breaks. Providing this flexibility acknowledges individual work styles and enhances engagement. Encourage regular breaks throughout the day to prevent burnout.

Provide Resources for Self-Care

Offer resources that support employee wellbeing and self-care. Provide access to mindfulness exercises, relaxation techniques, and time management workshops. These resources can help employees manage stress and optimize their energy levels throughout the workweek, including on Mondays. A robust wellness program — meaning one that supports fitness programs, financial counseling and support, health education classes, and more — can go a long way toward reducing burnout levels at your organization.  

Work-Life Wellness Starts with Wellhub

As the work landscape continues to evolve, HR needs to be diligent in noticing trends like Bare Minimum Mondays and offer support for employees. By understanding the psychological underpinnings, embracing open communication, and balancing effort with rest, employers can cultivate a culture that prioritizes both performance and well-being.

Another way to fight burnout and keep employees engaged in any kind of work environment is with robust wellness programs. Give employees access to thousands of fitness studios and wellness apps with Wellhub, boosting both their physical and mental health. 

Speak with a wellbeing specialist today about how we can help support your workforce, whether they're working from home or at your office!

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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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