Just as we all have started to understand what quiet quitting is and how to address it, we have a new workplace trend we must grapple with — Bare Minimum Mondays. What is that exactly?

Think of Bare Minimum Mondays as quiet quitting’s slightly more ambitious cousin. While quiet quitting refers to doing the absolute minimum requirements of the job everyday, Bare Minimum Mondays focuses on doing less at the start of the workweek (i.e. fewer meetings, low stress work, more self care, etc.), allowing employees to ease their way into work and be more productive workers the remainder of the workweek — at least according to proponents.

Bare Minimum Mondays are a response to the feeling of dread that 80% of workers experience the day before returning to work — sometimes called the Sunday Scaries. Bare Minimum Mondays are an effort to lessen that worry that creeps in the day before the start of the workweek.

None of this is really new. It’s just a new name for something that has been around for as long as most of us can remember. “Looks like someone’s got a case of the Mondays,” is a well-known line from a popular work-related comedy from the late 1990s. A cartoon cat has famously loved lasagna, but hated Mondays for nearly 50 years. So, why are we talking about this now?

While we have been dealing with the Monday dread for years, the last several years — the COVID pandemic, returning to the office, etc. — have put a spotlight on these feelings and social media has allowed everyone to bond over those feelings on a global scale almost instantaneously.

So, how to we address this “new” workplace trend? Employers who are concerned Bare Minimum Mondays are negatively affecting employee productivity and/or morale should consider ways they can counteract the negative effects and maximize the benefits.

Improve Employee Engagement

If employees are avoiding Monday like the plague, there is a good chance they are not engaged. Employees who are engaged put time, energy, and passion into their work. They feel a sense of enthusiasm about the work they do and getting the job done. In other words, an engaged workforce is a productive workforce.

Knowing how engaged your workforce is and where your company’s areas of weakness lie are important first steps in improving employee engagement. Are employees being offered opportunities to learn and grow with the organization? Is your work culture supportive of the increasingly diverse workforce? Can employees rely on those in management to be fair, consistent, and communicate openly? All of these factors go into how engaged your employees are and engagement is key to productivity.

Keep Things Consistent and Predictable

For some employees, not knowing what is in store for them when they walk in those doors Monday morning is enough to cause that feeling of dread. Those may also be those employees who are often late or absent on Mondays. Creating some consistency and predictability about the start of the workweek can eliminate that anxious feeling and can provide focus that will carry through the rest of the workweek.

For employers who are operating on a hybrid work model, maybe it means that Mondays are always a day where employees work from home. For employers who are back to work in office full time, maybe Mondays are when departments meet informally to discuss goals for the week and where employees can bring up concerns. Maybe Monday is the day when employees are given wide latitude in handling their work and no meetings get scheduled until Tuesday.

Determine what creates that level of consistency and predictability for your organization.

Work With What You Got

If having Bare Minimum Mondays are not affecting employee productivity or the company’s bottom line, why fight it? Take a look at what affects a lower stress start to the work is having (or would have) on your business. If there is little to no negative impact, are we just worrying for worrying’s sake?

Having employees ease into their week by not overloading Monday with meetings, project deadlines, and deliverables can allow employees to better prioritize and plan for the rest of the week while still seeing productive work done. If it also allows employee to defuse some of that Monday dread it has an added bonus of reducing the likelihood of burnout and increased employee retention.

While this issue isn’t entirely new, many of the ways in which we work have changed — some quite rapidly in more recent years. Being able to adapt and look for the silver lining in what seems like an otherwise negative situation can go a long way in creating a positive workplace culture, reducing turnover and negative feelings about work, and maintaining productivity and the company’s bottom line.