April 26, 2023

How Employers can Combat Bare Minimum Mondays

Julie Scates

Many new terms surrounding the workplace have surfaced in recent years: quiet quitting, labor hoarding, the great resignation, the great regret, and more. One of the more recent terms aligns with the quiet quitting trend: “Bare Minimum Mondays” refers to declining employee productivity to ease into the week by prioritizing self-care over productivity on the first day of the work week. This term stems from the familiar pre-workweek feeling known as “Sunday Scaries.” This is the anxiety feeling associated with beginning a new week and is something most people feel. 80% of professionals, including more than 90% of Gen-Z and Millennials, feel the anxiety associated with Sunday Scaries. Nearly half of senior managers report experiencing the feeling multiple times during the past year. 

Enough terms have surfaced that describe a lack of work, or newly, a postponement of work that it may be a good idea for employers to be proactive in helping employees feel more comfortable and relaxed at work or put them on a path of greater productivity. 

How can Employers Combat Bare Minimum Mondays?

There are several things that employers can do to help address the balance so many workers seek and manage the workload that seems to be a stressor for most employees. 

Four-day workweek: Reducing the number of days at work from five to four can help establish a shorter, more productive workweek. It can also improve physical and mental health, along with reducing Co2 emissions. 

A four-day workweek sounds great in theory, and for many companies, it is the perfect solution to productivity issues. However, for some industries, this is not a viable option. Similarly, some small businesses may find cutting an entire day from their week difficult. Alternatively, to a four-day workweek, companies can implement a “Flexible Friday” option, where employees alternate between days they have off. One week, half of the employees have one day off, and the following week the other half does. 

This ensures that employees still have time off (not to mention 26 extra days of time off a year) and that they get all of their work done before their day off, thus improving productivity. This option is flexible and can be adjusted to meet the needs of the company that chooses to implement it. 

It can be hard to conceptualize that a day off per week can improve productivity despite what the data shows. If you are hesitant to implement this work structure (because once implemented, it would be hard to take that time off away), consider enacting a 4/10 work schedule. If you are unfamiliar, a 4/10 work schedule is when an employee works four ten-hour shifts each week to create an additional day off. In some structures, employers will have employees keep the same hours, working four days a week, but by having employees work 4, ten-hour shifts, leaders can have greater confidence that productivity will not waver. This option has employees clocked in 40 hours each week and includes an extra day off.

Who is Responsible for Bare Minimum Mondays?

The issue of Bare Minimum Mondays can be confusing. Are employers responsible for overworking employees or for their lack of motivation? Are employees accountable for emphasizing work-life balance to the max and not doing what they were hired to do? The answer is a little bit of both.

Now that employers have caught on to the idea that employees are moving away from hustle culture and are demanding better work-life balance, there is a responsibility to act for the benefit of all involved. A good idea to get a feel of where your team is at is to survey your employees to find out what their top priorities are, if they are feeling burnt out, their preferred working schedules, and any other areas pertaining to your company’s unique needs.

Once that is completed, leaders of your company will have a better understanding of how to approach the issue, including clear, collaborative steps to overcome the challenge as a team.

The term Bare Minimum Monday is the latest to surface, but it likely will not be the last phrase to describe the growing burnout trend. To be able to adapt in a way that is productive for the company, realistic for leaders to implement, and that leaves employees feeling valued and satisfied is a win-win-win, and may be as simple as reorganizing your company’s workweek.