At some point or another, all of us have surely experienced that overwhelming feeling of dread on a Sunday evening, as the working week ahead looms large like a dark cloud on the horizon.
You’ve had a great weekend hanging out with family and friends, but you’re not ready for it to be over, and now it’s time to get back to work. That means knuckling down, figuring out what needs to be done, and working hard to meet the dozens of deadlines you’ve been set.
Or does it? Alexander Dick, CEO of Alexander Lyons Solutions looks at a new trend known as ‘Bare Minimum Mondays’ is emerging among workers who feel overworked and underpaid for their services. As the name suggests, the idea is to ease into the working week by doing as little as you can possibly get away with on a Monday; effectively dipping your toe before diving back in headfirst.
It’s understandable why workers want a better work-life balance – after all, working from home since the pandemic has made many people happier and more productive in their roles. However, the concept of Bare Minimum Mondays isn’t about improving work-life balance; it’s just plain lazy, and could actually be damaging to your career.
A flawed concept
Of course, this is not to suggest that it isn’t okay to take things a little slower than normal every once in a while. We’re human beings, not robots, and it’s neither realistic nor fair to expect someone to work every second of the day between 9am and 5pm. It’s only natural that our energy levels will ebb and flow, and this is a reality that bosses must accept.
The problem with Bare Minimum Mondays, however, is that it’s built on the conscious decision to consistently do as little as possible on a Monday, regardless of how you might be feeling on any given day. In other words, the idea to do the bare minimum might not necessarily be because you feel burnt out or overworked, and may instead be because you just can’t be bothered to work. If the latter is the case, it might not be long before you end up feeling burnt out for real. With your email inbox continuing to fill up, and your deadlines getting pushed back, your workload will soon become overwhelming – then you really will have cause to dread Mondays!
Furthermore, what many exponents of Bare Minimum Mondays may not realise is that, by engaging in such a questionable practice, they could actually be harming their efforts to achieve a better work-life balance. While I’m a firm believer in WFH – having worked remotely full time since long before the pandemic – it should be acknowledged that many managers do not share my views. Indeed, in a recent survey conducted by Microsoft, 80% of employers disagreed that workers are more productive from home. As such, workers who are consistently failing to produce the goods on a Monday must bear in mind that their manager may soon notice this, and take action to correct their behaviour. This might result in the manager rescinding the employee’s work-from-home privileges if they feel that they can’t be trusted to do their job outside the office. Giving the impression that you need to be babysat is never a good look, and could significantly hold back your journey up the company ladder. Personally, I would never force any of my staff back into an office setting, but workers cannot simply ignore the possibility that their boss might do if they continue to ascribe to Bare Minimum Mondays.
Changing the narrative
If – like The Boomtown Rats – you really don’t like Mondays that much, you should perhaps consider why that is, rather than vetoing the day altogether. Of course, disliking Mondays is pretty normal, and something that we’ve been conditioned to do ever since we were at school. But dreading the advent of a new working week so much that you can’t even bring yourself to do your work is a massive red flag that you might be in the wrong job. If this is the case, you really need to think long and hard about whether the job is right for you, and if you’d be happier and more engaged doing something else. Not only do you owe it to yourself to consider this, but also to your employer, who’s paying for you to work five days a week but effectively only benefitting from four.
Things might not have to come to that, however. There might be some simple changes that can be made to your existing job that’ll help rid you of your Monday anxiety. Speak to your manager and run through whether there’s anything they can do to address your concerns, or that’ll make you feel more productive. Additionally, there might be certain modifications to your Monday that you can make yourself. Put something in your diary for Mondays that makes you look forward to them, such as coffee or a meal out with a friend on your lunch break. You might be surprised how much of a difference even small changes can make to your mood and motivation.
Ultimately, we need to get rid of the stigma around Mondays, and to a point where we treat them like any other day of the week. Bare Minimum Mondays isn’t the solution; it’s just another part of the problem. If you can’t bear the thought of your alarm clock going off at the start of the week, you need to work out why this is – only you have the power to change the narrative, and turn your Bare Minimum Mondays into Get Sh*t Done Days!