Experts in the Media

Joe Hart – HR Leader

Organisational Psychologist

Why ‘bare minimum Mondays’ are not the answer.

The Boomtown Rats and The Bangles both sang about it, but can anyone actually tell me why we don’t like Mondays?

Monday is just a day of the week, like any other day of the week, really, but it’s always had a bad rap. It doesn’t have the fun and frivolity of Friday, and it lacks the hooray of hump day (also known as Wednesday to the uninitiated).

For as long as I can remember, companies and managers alike have struggled to create an engaging “Monday morning meeting” that inspires the team and ensures everyone is aligned. Instead, people drag their feet into the office and slump into a chair, coffee in hand.

So in answer to a general dislike of Mondays, Gen Z has created a TikTok work trend that’s gone viral called “bare minimum Mondays”.

A bare minimum Monday is a gentle start to the week; you don’t plan any meetings, you just quietly ease yourself back into work after the weekend, also allowing yourself a bit of time for admin and general life planning.

And while I agree with having a bit of white space in your schedule, I don’t agree with taking your foot off the pedal every Monday.

Why? Because in a healthy work culture, you shouldn’t have to.

In our modern workplaces, I believe people want two things above all else: trust and flexibility.

They want to be trusted to achieve outcomes, and they want the flexibility to manage their lives outside of work.

And while I don’t encourage smashing into Mondays with an intense schedule of meetings, the idea that work doesn’t happen on Mondays doesn’t work for part-time staff or customer service-based roles. It just creates more division and inequity.

If you don’t work Mondays because you’re part-time, can you take a raincheck and plan a bare minimum Tuesday or Thursday instead? If you are in a client-facing role, can you take a few extra hours on either side of your shift to catch up on personal stuff?

Fads such as bare minimum Mondays are disguising a bigger issue – toxic cultures created by poor leadership practices, brought about by people being promoted due to strong performance against targets and not necessarily due to their ability to lead people.

And while it’s fun to think about giving people extra time for self-care, a good manager should be caring for their staff anyway.

Companies readily look at the bottom line to ensure their shareholders are happy, but what they should be doing is checking in with their staff to make sure they’re happy and engaged.

Psychological safety, the idea that you can speak up about issues or mistakes without fear of reprimand, is critical for a healthy workplace culture. The truth is, most organisations aren’t aware of how unsafe people feel, which is highlighted by research demonstrating that people feel most stressed on Mondays due to anxiety about work – also known as the “Sunday scaries” (again, thank you, Gen Z).

It’s the role of all managers to understand what each employee needs and how best to engage, motivate and develop them, every day of the week.

If we focus on that, then I believe we won’t have to survive another manic Monday, wishing it was Sunday because that’s our fun day.

By Joe Hart, organisational psychologist and executive coach