Coined by TikTok user Marisa Jo Mayes, the practice is a way of prioritizing mental health and wellness over short-term productivity. It ties in with the Sunday scaries, a term for the stress and dread that many 9-5 workers experience come Sunday night as the weekend winds down.
@itsmarisajo The story behind Bare Minimum Monday #selfemployed #burnoutrecovery #selfemployedlife #worklifewellbeing #bareminimummondays #bareminimummonday ♬ Theme From A Summer Place - Percy Faith
To avoid the Sunday scaries, many workers lengthen their weekends as much as possible, which might involve staying up late on Sunday night, for example. But that leads to a more stressful start to the week, where you feel behind even before you start hitting the snooze button a few times. You wind up feeling like you're always playing catch-up on Monday, which is a terrible way to start the week, according to Mayes, and can lead to burnout on the job.
@rod Today lasted ✨approximately✨ 16 hours #work #millennial #workfromhome #office #corporate #workdistractions ♬ My heart will go on - Raven Skye
So instead of starting the week out on the wrong side of the bed, practitioners of bare minimum Monday have made a conscious decision to take it easy on Mondays and do only what's necessary. "It's me rejecting the idea that my productivity is more important than my well-being," Mayes said about the trend in one of her videos.
@callcenter_geek Valuing not working more then working hard. #leadership #mondaymotivation #hardwork #bareminimummondays #quietquitting #entrepreneurship #monday ♬ original sound - Tom Laird
As you might expect, there's no shortage of opinions about this new form of work-life balance. It's evidence that workers are starting to value ways to shirk work instead of hard work, according to TikTok user Tom Laird. "I'm sure they're still expecting the same amount of pay for that Monday," he said. But considering four-day workweeks are becoming more common, salaried workers being paid for a day they did do some work as opposed to a day off shouldn't set off so many alarm bells.
@michaelhgoldberg Bare minimum Monday’s are a sign of poor leadership. Tell me otherwise. #leadership #coach #lifeadvice #edutokmotivation #mentor ♬ original sound - Michael Goldberg // Leadership
The trend is evidence of a lack of leadership, said Michael Goldberg, a TikTokker who describes himself as a retired CEO of a billion-dollar organization, "You know why employees will normally go above and beyond?" he said. "It's because they're supported." If a manager or business owner has a group of employees who do only the bare minimum, "you need to take a hard look at yourself and ask, 'am I the person who is not inspiring this team?'"
On the popular r/antiwork Reddit forum, users were quick to point out that Mayes is self-employed (she does use the #selfemployed hashtag on TikTok), which kind of takes many consequences from slacking off out of the equation.
They also mentioned that she enjoys the privilege of a white-collar, work-from-home job, and many workers don't have the luxury of just taking it easy for a day. "This is some white collar b*******," one Redditor said. "I have to actually work or work won’t get done."