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The “Bare Minimum Mondays” Trend

25 Oct 2023 3 min read
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Ruby Liu MY

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Psychology in everyday life
Mental health 101
Community mental health

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Imagine this: Sunday night, you're all comfy on the sofa, ready to Netflix and chill. But oh no! Your brain decides to crash the party, reminding you of the upcoming workload and deadlines. A sneaky feeling of unease pops up, saying, "Hello, it's me!" And just like that, your mind fast-forwards to the workday ahead. Talk about Sunday scaries on overdrive! Have you ever experienced that?

According to a LinkedIn survey, 80% of Americans surveyed report experiencing work-related concerns on Sundays. Among Gen Z individuals (those born between 1996 and 2010), the worry levels soar to a staggering 94%. The top reasons for these concerns include:

  • The workload (60%)
  • Juggling work and personal commitments (44%)
  • Thinking about last week's incomplete tasks (39%)

In response to the intangible yet universally dreaded phenomenon of Sunday anxiety, content creator and startup founder Marisa Jo Mayes introduces the concept of "Bare Minimum Mondays". The idea behind this concept is to tackle only a minimal amount of work on Mondays, while prioritizing self-care and being mindful of one's mental state before immersing oneself in tasks. Marisa leads by example, dedicating the initial two hours of her workday to journaling, reading, and engaging in enjoyable activities before shifting her focus to essential work. According to her, this focused approach of two to three hours can yield results equivalent to or even surpassing eight hours of scattered work.

Naturally, there are individuals who hold a different perspective on the concept of "Bare Minimum Mondays." They argue that adopting this approach can promote an entitlement culture, where employees might feel justified in slacking off during their work hours. Furthermore, certain professions such as engineering, healthcare, law, education, and others require constant communication, tight deadlines, and potential impacts on the well-being and interests of others. In such cases, the "Bare Minimum Mondays" model may not appear appropriate or suitable.

We reached out to friends from different industries, and here's what they had to say:

Mr. R, an administrative management professional, shared his thoughts on the matter:

"I believe this arrangement is truly humane and has the potential to uplift people's spirits

bringing them back to an efficient state. 

However, its suitability depends on the nature of the industry. 

Moreover, providing staff with flexible schedules and incorporating team activities like 

breakfast meetings can also work wonders in boosting morale."

Ms. S, a marketing professional, shared, 

"The Monday Blues often stem from the workload accumulated on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Spending time on personal matters on Mondays only adds to the anxiety

Instead, flexible arrangements like remote work on Mondays can help employees 

establish a productive work mindset at home, leading to increased productivity."

Ms. T, a financial industry professional at the management level, expressed, 

"Following Bare Minimum Mondays, there might be Blue Tuesdays. 

Returning to work after a vacation is always challenging and can bring about a sense of discomfort."

We also sought the perspective of Prof. Winnie Mak, the principal investigator of our project. She highlighted the significance of incorporating self-care into our daily routines consistently, rather than restricting it to just Mondays. According to her, while it's not necessary to give our all every moment at work, finding a sense of commitment to both ourselves and our work is essential for realizing true meaning.

Indeed, the core intention behind "Bare Minimum Monday" is to explore a personalized approach to self-kindness within the context of a busy work schedule. The goal is to maintain motivation and prioritize the well-being of both the mind and body in a sustainable manner. Simplifying the workload on Mondays is just one creative means of accomplishing this objective.

If we aim to reduce the pressure associated with returning to work each week, there are additional strategies worth considering. These can include integrating micro-breaks into your workday, scheduling time for lunchtime walks or exercise to rejuvenate both the body and mind, and initiating open communication within your team to establish task priorities at the beginning of the week. By implementing these approaches, you can alleviate productivity-related anxiety and cultivate a stronger sense of connection among team members.

Several studies have shown that flexible work schedules have a positive impact on job satisfaction and can help alleviate job burnout. In 2020, the HKFYG Youth Research Centre conducted a study involving interviews with 521 local workers aged 20-39. The study's findings revealed that more than 40% of the respondents expressed a strong desire for their companies to provide flexible working hours. Additionally, 35% of the participants showed interest in a compressed work week, where they would work longer hours per day in exchange for having one less working day per week. Approximately 20% of the respondents expressed their hope for the opportunity to work from home or remotely.

Amidst phenomena like "Quiet Quitting" observed in the past year and the emergence of "Bare Minimum Mondays" in the current year, a prevailing belief is that the global workforce is silently revolutionizing the workplace. However, it is more likely that, in the post-pandemic era, we are collectively pondering the possibility of integrating work with physical and mental well-being. Regardless of the specific labels assigned to these trends, they offer us a chance for introspection and to contemplate how we can foster a more compassionate and humane work environment.

Psychology in everyday life
Mental health 101
Community mental health
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Ruby Liu MY

Well-being Promotion Officer of Jockey Club TourHeart+ Project

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