Hustle culture has endured a bad reputation following the COVID-19 pandemic, with more people targeting a healthier work-life balance than arguably ever before.
When coupled with a tight job market, employee wellbeing has become a priority for employers, both when it comes to keeping their employees happy and mentally sound, as well as when they are seeking to bring in new talent. Failing to cater for employees’ welfare has led to the rise of workplace issues such as quiet quitters, loud labourers, and resenteeism.
However, there’s a new workplace trend on the block, and contrary to the others, it can actually benefit both the employee and the employer.
Introducing, bare minimum Mondays.
This latest trend encourages workers to do the minimum required work on Monday, hence lowering their expectations and making them feel less overwhelmed on Monday mornings, and potentially less anxious on Sunday evenings.
Returning to work on a Monday morning can be mentally draining for many people, especially if they have not been able to get the rest they desire over the weekend. The transition from a relaxing weekend to a hectic work schedule can lead to the “Sunday scaries”, a type of anxiety that workers experience about the upcoming workweek.
This is exactly what digital creator and start-up Founder Marisa Jo Mayes was facing following the pandemic.
Prior to her present role, Ms Mayes worked in medical-device sales, yet she found herself “miserable and burned out”, prompting her to leave her job and try self-employment instead. Despite this, she quickly realised that the problem was not her boss or the company’s work culture, but hustle culture altogether.
Speaking to Business Insider, she recalled how she’d have a “cycle of stress and burnout”, where she’d feel bad because she was so fatigued that she could not do anything. Instead, she’d make long to-do lists for Mondays in the hope of catching up to her tasks, which would only lead to the Sunday scaries to hit her, making her dread the start of the week.
However, in March 2022, she opted to make a change, giving herself permission to do the bare minimum for work. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, she ended up getting more done than she had initially expected.
Since then, she has done bare minimum Monday every week. Ms Mayes has also gone viral for posting TikTok videos of her new lifestyle, with her now able to prioritise herself as a person rather than as an employee.
In a typical bare minimum Monday, workers would focus on those areas of their work that are least taxing on their minds, such as the minimum requirements of their job, or any creative elements.
Ms Mayes noted that her personal approach as someone who works remotely is to avoid looking at her phone or email for the first two hours of her Monday, instead doing some reading, journaling, and possibly some chores at her house.
However, this schedule can undoubtedly be quite difficult to implement when you have a regular job that requires you to be present from 9am until 5pm. This was a question that Ms Mayes was asked by one of her followers.
She explained that lifestyle that bare minimum Mondays bring about are less about following a specific schedule, and more about changing one’s mindset to focus only on the most important tasks for the day.
This concept can help employees allocate time for more focused work, reduce burnout, and consequently, improve employee morale.
Business leaders need to be in constant discussions with employees about their working arrangements, and whether they are happy with the environment that they are being presented with.
Should employees feel that countless meetings, events and relatively unimportant tasks are hindering them from getting things done on a Monday, then this might be the perfect concept to introduce at the workplace. By blocking out certain tasks on Monday mornings, employees will be free to do the work that truly matters and that interests them.
Despite this, there are some issues to consider when it comes to bare minimum Mondays.
Ultimately, this lifestyle might not work for everyone. While Ms Mayes stated that she feels more productive through bare minimum Mondays, others might not be able to achieve the same results through the drop in working hours.
Business demands can also be tougher to reach, as while certain industries might have calmer Mondays, others might encounter an increase in workload following the weekend, especially those working in customer-facing roles. Additionally, removing some responsibilities at the start of the work will only lead to them being piled up more, which has a reverse effect and ends up making employees more overwhelmed across the rest of the week.
Bare minimum Mondays might be an option for business leaders to consider implementing, yet given the range of alternatives present, such as flex Fridays, half-day Fridays, and four-day workweeks, they have to assess each situation closely and ensure that the decision that they are making benefits the employer, employee, and the business altogether.
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