Skip to Main Content
Filter By +
Topic +

How HR Can Turn the Tables on Bare Minimum Mondays

Mondays, amirite?

It’s been nearly 100 years since Henry Ford popularized the five-day, 40-hour workweek. And ever since, no weekday has gained more stigma than the first.

According to a survey from international research firm YouGov, Monday is by far America’s least favorite weekday, at 58%. (The next despised? Tuesday, at a mere 12%.) Some employees fear it so much, they’re curing their “case of the Mondays” with a creative Rx: “bare minimum Monday.”

Think of it as “quiet quitting” on a weekly schedule. Bare minimum Monday is a reminder that employers support their people — not just the other way around. The concept is not about not working; it’s about employees doing less at the week’s start so they can do more with their careers without overwhelming stress. This could involve:

  • reflecting on goals
  • evaluating progress
  • focusing on professional priorities

Understandably, that creates an impasse. Do businesses need to start accepting Mondays as a wash? And is bare minimum Monday just the start of more “work less weekdays”?

Not necessarily. It’s possible to foster an efficient environment where people actually want to work — even on Mondays. This doesn’t mean businesses have to adjust their goals, either. Striking the right balance, however, takes knowing what motivates and demotivates employees.

Think about these questions to help you understand and manage bare minimum Monday.

What is a bare minimum Monday?

Coined by TikTok creator Marisa Jo Mayes, the idea of “bare minimum Monday” is to use low productivity to:

  • regain focus
  • reduce stress
  • promote well-being

It’s also a way to avoid the dread that can come with a new workweek. Mayes took the approach after years of struggling with burnout. At the cost of working as fast as possible, she found a way to work healthier.

Why would someone take a bare minimum Monday?

To get to the bottom of bare minimum Monday, you’ve got to accept something: It’s not exclusively a response to bad work environments.

For example, Mayes thought her issue was tied to a specific job. But after leaving medical device sales for self-employment, that familiar dread — or the “Sunday scaries” — gradually returned.

Consider Alec Burks, a project manager for a construction company. As he told The Atlantic, every Sunday night brought a fresh wave of terror, despite liking his job. He described the transition from the weekend to Monday morning as “the end of freedom.” Behind this feeling, he said, was the idea that at work, he had to minimize his identity for the sake of his job description.

Mayes described Monday mornings as “paralyzing.” She’d stay in bed until the last possible minute, unnerved by waiting assignments. She didn’t have a boss, co-worker or toxic workplace to blame. Instead, she believed her commitment to perfectionism and hustle culture fueled self-doubt and impostor syndrome.

Ultimately, Mayes transformed Mondays by making a point to do less. Rather than taking meetings and getting too in the weeds on any one task, she’s spending Monday morning looking at the week’s big picture and being kind to herself, whether through:

  • journaling
  • meditation
  • exercising
  • upskilling
  • and otherwise focusing on things that weren’t emergencies

It’s worth noting Mayes admits her position isn’t universal. After all, she’s her own boss and works from home. However, that doesn’t mean her approach doesn’t have value, or that bare minimum Monday doesn’t exist at traditional workplaces.

5 signs employees are taking a bare minimum Monday

In the 1999 comedy Office Space, the main character proved there’s more than one way to do the least. But unlike the movie, employees aren’t practicing bare minimum Monday by intentionally coming into work late, playing video games on the clock or disregarding all workplace policies.

Instead, it’s a defensive reflex that’s gaining traction among younger generations of workers. It makes sense, given 46% of Generation Z members and 45% of millennials reported feeling burned out in a Deloitte survey. Most aim to lighten the workload, rather than evade work itself.

What to watch for? Bare minimum Mondays can involve avoiding other people to dodge dread or pumping the brakes on unnecessarily urgent tasks. Some may look to distract themselves or simply focus on one thing at a time.

In general, indicators of employees doing the bare minimum include:

  1. limiting interactions
  2. slowing things down
  3. nixing multitasking
  4. having fun
  5. doing less

In certain environments, rampant bare minimum Mondays may point to larger, systemic issues. In fact, U.S. labor strikes rose by 52% in 2022, according to research from Cornell University. Facing unrealistic expectations and poor working conditions, some employees could take the bare minimum to the max.

Moves like this shouldn’t be taken as simply lazy people squeezing the most out of their job. Rather, they’re an urgent plea for leaders to contemplate how fair and equitable their businesses are.

How can HR respond to bare minimum Mondays?

Like quiet quitting, a bare minimum Monday can detract from productivity and signal disengagement. But it’s not the source of an issue. Bare minimum Monday is employees’ attempt to equalize their work-life balance and recapture the joy in their work.

HR professionals should focus on cultivating that joy — and, by extension, employees’ purpose. This doesn’t mean HR should “force fun” onto employees, either. What workers want is more control over their experience. Giving into them takes a deeper understanding of their behavior and motivation.

For instance, some employees may just want more of a reason to care about a potential career. In a survey from The Conference Board, 58% of workers said without meaningful development options, they would leave a company.

A few options to help meet employees on their level and make the most out of their work include:

  • wellness resources
  • employee resource groups
  • mentoring and upskilling opportunities
  • group discussions and surveys

How does HR tech help engage employees?

With the right tools, HR can make Monday motivational for employees.

First and foremost, consider giving talent easy-to-use self-service HR tools to help them manage work lives anytime, anywhere. They’re even better through a single software with one login and password.

Another great way to understand employees? Asking them questions! Intuitive survey tech makes it easy to quickly deploy questions and gather feedback about your workforce’s experience.

And should they have any questions of their own, invest in an HR communication tool to help them get answers quickly and efficiently.

Remember, today’s employees don’t want jobs — they want careers. Use a comprehensive learning management system to let them:

  • train in relevant areas
  • document their development journey
  • upskill with videos and industry-specific courses
  • take the next steps toward becoming a leader

No HR pro can completely eliminate Sunday scaries or the stress of a new week. They can, however, foster an environment where people want to work.

Yes, even on Mondays.


DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.