So, let's talk about this intriguing new trend: Bare Minimum Mondays. It's been creating quite a buzz lately, especially in the world of management. But what's the deal with Bare Minimum Mondays, and is it a sound practice? Well, today we're going to dive deep into this trend and figure out whether it's something you should consider adopting in your workplace.
What is Bare Minimum Mondays (BMM)?
Bare Minimum Mondays are when employees simplify their work tasks as much as humanly possible at the start of the week. Depending on what they do, this 'minimalist' approach might mean they only show up for the really important meetings or take more coffee breaks than usual.
Sounds fine, right? Well, Bare Minimum Mondays share a lot of characteristics with 'quiet quitting'. Both are all about doing just the bare minimum to get by.
Recently, Bare Minimum Mondays are catching on like wildfire, whether you're working from home or hustling in the office. If you've ever found yourself simplifying things on a Monday, you're not alone – it's a growing trend.
So, how did this all begin?
Where did BMM come from?
Meet Marisa Jo Mayes, a digital creator and startup founder who took a rollercoaster ride through her career in 2020. She thought the source of her misery was her boss and the team culture, which led her to say goodbye to her medical-device sales job.
But, she soon realized her problem was bigger than that. She was trapped in the clutches of "hustle culture" and perfectionism.
Her work routine felt like a never-ending stress cycle, and the more she burned out, the more she piled tasks onto her to-do list, hoping to regain her self-esteem.
Marisa decided it was time for another change. In March 2022, she threw caution to the wind and gave herself permission to do the absolute bare minimum for work. It was like magic! Suddenly, the weight lifted, and she found herself less overwhelmed and more productive.
So, she adopted the "Bare Minimum Monday" approach.
On these special Mondays, she kicks off her day by steering clear of meetings and embracing a slow and mindful morning for the first two hours. No technology, just some quality time with herself.
Now, she's happy with what she accomplishes and no longer feels paralyzed by her to-do list. Bare Minimum Monday has been her savior ever since!
Why are employees adopting a Bare Minimum Mondays attitude?
Employees adopting a "Bare Minimum Mondays" attitude may do so for various reasons, but common factors could include...
- Poor Task Management: The tasks employees face at the beginning of the week can set the tone for their productivity. If they're hit with overwhelming or unrealistic tasks, it might lead to a "bare minimum" attitude. They might fear not being able to meet these demands effectively.
Scenario: Imagine a software developer, Sarah, who starts her Monday with a massive project deadline looming over her. The tasks involved are complex, and the timeline is tight. Sarah might feel overwhelmed and underprepared to tackle the project right away. As a result, she may adopt a "bare minimum" mindset, choosing to postpone her tasks or only completing the most basic requirements.
- Burnout: Burnout isn't just a personal struggle; it can have a ripple effect on the whole team. If your team members are already dealing with burnout, their motivation and energy might be MIA on Monday. This can result in lackluster performance and reduced productivity.
Scenario: John, a marketing manager, has been consistently working long hours and dealing with multiple tight deadlines for the past few months. He's experiencing burnout, and his motivation is at an all-time low. When Monday comes, he finds it difficult to summon the energy and enthusiasm needed for a productive start to the week. Instead, he opts for a "bare minimum" approach to conserve his limited energy.
- Monotony of Schedule: When the work routine becomes monotonous, it can be a recipe for Monday apathy. Employees may find it hard to stay enthusiastic if they're returning to the same old, same old, week after week.
Scenario: Emily works at a customer service call center, where her job involves answering similar customer inquiries day in and day out. Her workweek follows a monotonous routine, and she dreads the repetition. On Monday, returning to the same routine can feel demotivating for Emily. The lack of variety in her tasks leads her to approach her work with the bare minimum effort required to get through the day.
- The Sunday Scaries: The "Sunday Scaries" aren't exclusive to employees. As managers, you should be aware that some of your team members may experience anxiety on Sunday evenings, which carries over into the workweek. This can impact their motivation and productivity on Mondays.
Scenario: David experiences the "Sunday Scaries." On Sunday evening, he's filled with anxiety and apprehension about the upcoming workweek. This feeling often lingers into Monday morning, affecting his motivation. David struggles to shake off the Sunday anxiety, making it difficult for him to start the week with a positive attitude. He ends up adopting a "bare minimum" approach as a result.
- Lack of Engagement: If employees feel disconnected or disengaged from their work, it's likely to reflect in their output. When they don't see the bigger picture or find their tasks meaningful, they may resort to procrastination or doing the bare minimum to get by.
Scenario: Karen works as a data entry specialist and finds her tasks repetitive and unfulfilling. She feels disconnected from the purpose of her work, which leads to a lack of engagement. On Monday, when she returns to her desk, she lacks the intrinsic motivation to give her best effort. Instead, she opts for a "bare minimum" approach, doing only what is necessary to complete the tasks without going above and beyond.
The Pros and Cons of Bare Minimum Mondays
In this section, we take a deeper look at the concept of BMM and compare the pros vs the cons. This gives you an even platform to make your own decision based on the positives and negatives of the idea. Let's get into this.
Pros of Bare Minimum Mondays
- Mondays aren't good for productivity, so why not embrace BMM?
Let’s face it, there aren’t many of us that are productive on a Monday. Even the most dedicated of workers need to ease themselves into the working week sometimes, and the stats don’t lie! In a 2023 study, research was conducted into the amount of words typed at a large international oil and gas corporation. The results showed the following:
Here, we can see that Monday’s in particular, are one of the lowest production days of the week when typing is concerned. It also shows that employees were making a lot more mistakes in their typing too. This could explain the recent adoption of the Bare Minimum Mondays attitude, but in fact, it may be showing that this attitude was always there, without a name tag. What is interesting, though, is that as the week progresses, productivity increases.
This could mean that adopting a Bare Minimum Monday approach may be beneficial for the working week.
- If workers are naturally showing signs of BMM, they could be suffering from burnout.
Imagine being in a job where your tasks are scattered across multiple systems and files, where you're constantly juggling deadlines and you’re expected to be available 24/7. It's a recipe for burnout and it can happen to anyone.
At its core, burnout is a result of chronic stress, and it can manifest as emotional exhaustion, a sense of detachment from work, and reduced performance.
Hmmm, this is starting to sound similar to a Bare Minimum Monday attitude! If your employees are starting to adopt this attitude naturally every Monday, it could be a sign of onset or full-blown burnout. Perhaps making the BMM a real thing in your workplace will give your employees the boost they need to overcome the onset of burnout, or at least give them a break if they’re already well into the burnout stages.
- Having a chilled Monday allows for a more productive day
“One day last March, I gave myself permission to do the absolute bare minimum for work, and it was like some magic spell came over me. I felt better. I wasn’t overwhelmed, and I actually got more done than I expected.”
The quote above is taken from an interview with the ‘founder’ of BMM, Marisa Jo Mayes. She really drives home the idea of embracing a "Bare Minimum Monday" approach, and does so in a pretty cool way. When Mayes decided to cut herself some slack on a Monday, it was like a magical spell was cast on her. She felt better, with less stress and overwhelm. What's even more surprising is that she got more work done than expected.
But it's not just about productivity; the way she describes it, it's like she found a whole new positive attitude. It’s pretty clear to see that when she gave herself some time to work in her own way and at her own pace, it gleaned positive results. When you're in control of your work schedule and find that balance, it's like you're living the dream of a healthier work-life dynamic.
Cons of Bare Minimum Mondays
- BMM may be Incompatible with certain professions
Think about professions where every second counts, like doctors, nurses, and emergency responders. These folks deal with life-and-death situations and need to be razor-sharp at all times. In these high-stakes jobs, there's no room for a sluggish start to the week. Imagine a doctor saying, "I'm just going to ease into Monday slowly." No, they need to be on their A-game from the moment they step into the hospital. Urgency is their middle name, and "Bare Minimum Monday" just doesn't fit the bill.
- BMM may cause everyone to play ‘catch up’ for the rest of the week
Deadlines, deadlines, and more deadlines! Some industries and businesses operate in a fast-paced environment where they have commitments to meet daily. If they decide to go with the "Bare Minimum Monday" approach, they’re starting a race with one shoe untied. You'll be running behind, trying to catch up for the rest of the week. This not only increases stress but can also lead to missing important deadlines. Client satisfaction might take a hit, and the whole team could be on edge. It's like a productivity snowball rolling downhill, picking up more stress and problems as it goes.
- It may be unsuitable for different work styles and personalities
People are as different as the toppings on a pizza. Some thrive on the rush of a productive Monday morning. They find that a busy Monday wakes them up from the weekend slumber and propels them into a dynamic workweek. But not everyone is wired the same way. The "Bare Minimum Monday" approach might leave those Monday-morning enthusiasts feeling like their engines are idling when they want to be in high gear. It's like expecting everyone to fit into the same-size shoe – some will be cramped, and others will have too much space. Workstyles and personalities vary, and one size doesn't fit all.
Alternatives for Bare Minimum Mondays
Ok, so even though the Bare Minimum Monday approach may have some pros, overall, we feel as though the cons outweigh the pros. The overall thought is that BMM could be effective, it's still not addressing the common workplace issues that made people resort to this mindset in the first place.
If employees are adopting the BMM approach because of burnout, the monotony of work or low morale, perhaps it's the company's job to change, not necessarily the employee.
Promote Work-Life Balance
Offering your employees flexible work hours and remote work options. It's like giving them the keys to managing their personal lives better while still handling work responsibilities. With a balanced life, the chances of them needing a slow start on Mondays due to burnout or stress become significantly lower.
Think of it as the workplace's very own wellness spa. Gym memberships, meditation sessions, and access to mental health resources are like offering your team a holistic approach to well-being. It's a clear message that the company cares about their overall health, reducing the likelihood of burnout and the "Bare Minimum Monday" approach.
You know how life feels a bit messy when no one's on the same page? Well, in the workplace, open and transparent communication is the mop and bucket needed to clean that mess up. When employees fully understand their roles, responsibilities, and long-term goals, they're less likely to start Mondays without direction or motivation.
Variety of Tasks
Imagine work as a buffet, offering diverse and challenging options. Employees get to choose different projects, acquire new skills, and avoid the monotony of the same old routine. This variety can help banish the "Bare Minimum Monday" mindset because engaged and stimulated employees are more likely to start the week with enthusiasm.
Recognition and Feedback
Recognition and feedback are like the fuel for a motivated employee's engine. Regular acknowledgment and constructive input make employees feel valued and invested in their work. With that intrinsic drive to excel, the "Bare Minimum Monday" idea takes a back seat.
Think of professional development as the elevator to success. Investing in employee training and development fosters a culture of continuous learning and career growth. This keeps employees engaged and offers a sense of progression, reducing the inclination for a slow Monday start and boosting the chances of retaining top talent.
Team-building activities are the cornerstone of a positive work culture. They create strong working relationships, making employees feel connected to their colleagues. This camaraderie boosts team morale and motivation, whilst reducing the likelihood of the "Bare Minimum Monday" approach..
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Giving employees a say in decision-making is like handing them the keys to their work kingdom. When employees know their input is valued, they're less likely to feel disempowered, ultimately reducing the tendency for a "Bare Minimum Monday."
When workloads are balanced, it's like sailing smoothly on a calm sea. But overload your ship, and it's a recipe for burnout. By ensuring workloads are reasonable and achievable, you help maintain a balanced work life, reducing the need for a "Bare Minimum Monday."
Mental Health Support
Provide access to counseling services, stress management programs, and encourages employees to seek help when needed. This support not only helps with overall employee well-being but also reduces the risk of behaviors like a "Bare Minimum Monday" that may be linked to underlying mental health issues and stress.
So, to sum it all up, Bare Minimum Mondays sure sound like an interesting concept in the working world, where folks try to keep things simple at the beginning of the week. But, you know, it's not all sunshine and rainbows.
Rather than diving headfirst into BMM, companies might want to think about some other ways to tackle those Monday blues. How about promoting a good work-life balance? That's always a plus. Or maybe throwing in some wellness programs because a healthy, happy workforce is a productive one. Clear communication is a no-brainer, and offering a mix of tasks can keep things interesting.
BMM could be like a quick fix for Monday motivation, but it's way more important for companies to dig into what's causing these Monday struggles in the first place.
Is Bare Minimum Monday a form of self-care?
Self-care involves taking intentional steps to prioritize one's physical, emotional, and mental well-being. If practicing Bare Minimum Monday helps someone reduce stress, avoid burnout, or better manage their workload, then it can be considered a self-care strategy. However, it's important to remember that self-care can take many forms, and what works for one person may not work for another. The key is to find self-care practices that are personally beneficial and sustainable.
What are the Sunday Scaries?
The term "Sunday Scaries" refers to a common feeling of anxiety or unease that many people experience on Sunday evenings, typically in anticipation of the workweek or school week ahead. It's a form of pre-weekday stress or apprehension.
There are several factors that contribute to the Sunday Scaries:
- Anticipation of Work or School: Knowing that the workweek or school week is about to begin can lead to feelings of anxiety, especially if you have a busy or demanding schedule.
- Transition from Leisure to Responsibility: The shift from a weekend of leisure and relaxation to the responsibilities and demands of the workweek can be jarring and cause stress.
- Unfinished Tasks: The realization that there are tasks, assignments, or responsibilities left undone from the previous week can weigh on your mind.
Time Management: Sometimes, people may feel that they haven't used their weekend effectively and worry about time management for the week ahead.