Workplaces and flexible work arrangments
Post the Covid-19 Lockdowns many workplaces have continued with flexible working arrangements. This in turn allowing employees to enjoy both working from home and in the office. This has significantly changed workplace culture and environments. Eliminating the expectations that employees should be required to come into the office every day from nine to five. Although to some the work from home life may seem ideal, being able to sleep in, no commute and no boss looking over your shoulder, it has led to some employees taking it that one step further. Bare Minimum Monday what does it all mean? Lets find out
The ‘Bare Minimum Monday’ is a trend taking off in the Australian social media landscape and more globally, with many employees and employers having their say about it. A Bare Minimum Monday is the concept of beginning the workweek at home at a slower pace. Being able to incorporate self-care and house chores into the Monday routine, and consequently only completing the bare minimum of work that is required. This can include blocking out Mondays as a no meeting day. Switching of emails for a few hours and focussing on smaller tasks. Also reduced hours and a more relaxed approach to the start of the working week.
Different to the 4-day work week, the Bare Minimum Monday means employees are still on the clock and being paid. However only being expected to complete the bare minimum of workload required for the Monday. Opinions on the Bare minimum Monday is polar. Those who support it speak of the endless benefits however others slamming it calling it “lazy” and an opportunity to take advantage of the situation.
The 40 hour work weeks is designed to give you just enough time to rest but not enough to achieve anything that would free you from your dependency on a jobGary Pinchen (i’m just saying)
There are opposing views
An Adelaide Marketing Manager Caitlin Winter is one of the largest advocates for the trend in the Australian social-media landscape. She has claimed that the Bare Minimum Monday is about “open communication and trust”. However, outlining that her approach to the trend wasn’t about changing productivity levels, but allowing employees to prioritise “well-being” and ensure “their working life [is] as comfortable as possible”.
Although employee’s well-being is certainly important, is reducing Monday to the bare minimum the answer to these sorts of issues. One Australia boss commented that by encouraging this trend is allowing employees to be “lazy and entitled”. Outlining that work flexibility and perks have “gone too far”, allowing for a “entitlement culture”. The question is can you be dismissed for implementing a Bare Minimum Monday into your work routine?
Some Employers have taken to social media to outline their implementation of the Bare Minimum Monday in the workspace and the benefits it has had. Others expressing their frustration if their employees where to implement such. The believers will tell you it has changed their work life. Decreasing stress and pressure for the working week and therefore increased productivity, being the best work routine, they have implemented. The opposition will express their dismay at the laziness and the outrage that workers are advertising they are only doing the bare minimum for a whole paid days’ work.
A low key approach can lead to dismissal
Clearly this trend can only be incorporated into certain workspaces, imagine a bare minimum Monday Teacher. Or a Bare Minimum Monday nurse, this would have significant impacts on the community. In these industries employees were doing the Bare Minimum Monday and taking a low key approach to a Monday they would likely be dismissed. And with fair reason. However, in the more traditional office workplace, where individuals work the standard 5 days a week, is the Bare Minimum Monday a dismissible activity?
Well yes technically speaking, an employer can dismiss you for doing the bare minimum every Monday. For example, if I were to leave work an hour early every day, completing 5 hours less of work weekly, which is somewhat comparable to the number of hours working across a week after adopting a Bare Minimum Monday. Instead of working until the end of my contracted working day,
I am completing housework or self-care or ‘life-admin’ as many call it. Is there a difference between leaving work an hour early every day and only working the bare minimum on a Monday cutting out significant number of hours on a Monday. In the total of a working week hours there wouldn’t be a difference. Then yes, it is likely an employee could terminate you, as you are not working the expected hours which is contracted and specified in employment contract.
What happens if they need to contact you
If the rest of the Company you work for are not doing the Bare Minimum Monday, what happens if they need to contact you. Therefore have to have a meeting without you. The Employer could sack you as no one is able to get a hold of you on Mondays as you are out walking the dog and meal prepping. Tasks that everyone else did on the weekend. Unless the whole workplace is on the trend of the Bare Minimum Monday, it doesn’t seem like it would be creating a cohesive office space.
Clearly an entire office would need to be involved in the bare Minimum Monday, or at least a whole team. An individual taking on the Bare Minimum Monday would cause disruptions to the rest of the employees work and the collaboration of the company’s employees more widely. This would be very concerning for employers. Interrupting other employees work is not something that would be accepted in many workplaces. Purely for reason that someone would like to start their week in a more ‘refreshing’ way.
A grey area in all this is – if you are working these reduced hours on a bare minimum Monday but the rest of the 4 days of the week you have increased productivity and by the end of the week you complete all your work to the expected level and have positive performance. Then can an employer sack you?
What about disruptions and collaboration?
The expectation at work is to be efficient and productive. To produce high-quality work and complete the tasks set to you at the expected standard in the workplace. So, if an employee is completing all the expected work to the quality expected, then does it matter if an employee does this in the conventional 9-5, 5 day working week. Or in a more flexible ‘Bare Minimum Monday’ week.
The main concern for an employer surrounding the Bare Minimum Monday is that their employee is being lazy. with the apprearence of being entitled and looking for an excuse to reduce the workload expected of them. Being able to have a slightly extended weekend and be able to complete the house work which they planned to do on the weekend on the Monday. If their employee is doing all that is required of them and meeting deadlines and completing tasks – can the employer criticise them for doing it, however unconventional it may seem.
Dismissal must be on reasonble grounds
The Employer would need reasonable grounds to terminate you. As an employee if you are not completing tasks set for you on a Monday as you feel they are beyond the Bare Minimum then yes, they would have reason to terminate you as you are not completing required tasks. However, if an employer sets you weekly tasks, and you do complete these by the end of the week. By taking the Bare minimum Monday approach into your flexible working routine then can they call into question your work ethic and ability and terminate you?
However, an employer has many considerations when implementing workplace standards and expectations. For example, if the employer knows their business is losing money and productivity partly because some of their staff adopt a Bare Minimum Monday, ultimately, they will not allow or support the strategy. If the managers and owners of a business work full hours Monday to Friday, why would the employees be able to “slack off” and enjoy a relaxed approach on a Monday.
Ultimately it appears to depend on the workplace environment, culture and flexibility, if the workplace already has working from home flexibility, then the Bare Minimum Monday may be more applicable and achievable without causing concern for dismissal and distribution in the workplace. Employees implementing the trend in a traditional office landscape would likely receive criticism and potential termination.
Benefits of the Bare minimum Monday?
A vast array of individuals from different industries have taken to social media platforms including Tik Tok showing how the Bare Minimum Monday has changed their life. Many saying the 5-day work week with immense pressure on Monday was leading to “burnouts”. They compared it to being in a “pressure cooker”. By completing the essential tasks and condensing the to do list, many claim it eases them into the work week. That it allows for more recharge and a more balanced calm mindset for the workweek. Some claiming that by doing the ‘easy’ tasks on a Monday allows them to be properly refreshed and organised for the week. Increasing productivity for the rest of the week and decreasing the overwhelming pressure they feel to complete all their work on Monday.
Various individuals have stated that it rids them of the ‘Sunday scaries’, the anxiety and dread felt on Sunday afternoon knowing they must go back to work and face the pressure in their work environment. By having a more laid-back Monday it rids them of the Sunday scaries and reduces the pressure they are feeling. They report feeling more relaxed and focused throughout the whole week after not having the immense dread and pressure felt at the start of the week. This leads to an increase in their productivity later in the week and improved welfare.
Four day week can improve productivity
The Four-day work week has been proved to increase productivity in many workplaces. The Bare Minimum Monday is a fusion of the 4-day work week and flexible working from home arrangements. If implementing this trend means an employee has increased wellbeing and it achieves the same levels of productivity or greater can an employer dismiss you? If you are doing all that is required and to the level expected, is it for your employer to decide that this approach is too unconventional in the workplace?
It seems as though the bare minimum Monday has been created because of employees feeling increased pressure on Mondays and letting the stress of their weeks list get to them. What are the employees stressed about and is it the workplace creating this pressure or themselves?
A more balanced approach may be the answer, approaching the trend in a more practical way, completing less work on a Monday doesn’t appear to be able to take the pressure of as the work is just pushed to the rest of the week. However, some of the ideologies of the bare Minimum Monday may have benefits in them workplace.
Can employees and employers find a more balanced approach to this?
It can be overwhelming going into the office Monday morning with over 50 emails to get through. Numerious new tasks which need to be completed by the end of the week, a to do list that seems to have doubled from the week before. Employees may feel the stress they need to get it all done in one day, an overwhelming amount of work can make it hard to start anywhere. The Bare Minimum Monday of only getting the essential tasks done may have some valid ideologies. Approaching a Monday with a more realistic mindset knowing you have the week to complete the tasks. Further being able to adapt, focus and acknowledge that you can’t get everything done in the one day.
Focusing on the tasks that must be done on the Monday. Breaking down the to-do lists and not trying to multi-task in the workplace and get everything done as fast as possible. It seems that a lot of the pressure is coming from employees themselves. The ‘hustle culture’ of getting everything done as fast as possible and getting to the next weekend. A more practical approach where employees are still working the full hours and doing more than just the absolute essential tasks. However shifting their mindset to ease the pressure from the work week ahead may be the answer many employees are looking for.
Slammed online for her views on bare minimum mondays
Although Caitlin Winter has been slammed online for her advocacy for the Bare Minimum Monday. Receiving a lot of criticism on the face of what she is demonstrating. In her Bare Minimum Monday involves sorting out her inbox, completing tasks in the office which are “hard to get to when you are weighed down with meetings and deadlines’. So although she appears to have a calm extra weekend day where she does only essential tasks, she is still working and knocking tasks off her to-do list no matter how minor they may be.
Caitlin’s approach may be a bit drastic. I don’t believe that doing the Bare Minimum on a Monday is the answer to excess workplace stress and a solution to increase employees’ productivity, however maybe some of the elements of it being able to focus on the essential tasks and not letting the weeks work overwhelm the employee could create benefits in the workplace.
It seems unfair that if an individual was still completing tasks required and to the level expected. Is it up to their employer to micro manage their employees work times and routine. Whether an employee is completing the work in a conventional or unconventional way as long it they are not disrupting the workplace. Then dismissal would be an unlikely scenario. For an employee if implementing the Bare Minimum Monday strategy, you would need to be careful and conscious that you are part of a team. That you are not slacking off and taking an easy way out to do less work.
Conclusion to: Bare Minimum Monday
If you want to discuss any workplace or a Fair work Commission matter give us a call. We always appreciate your input or query. A Whole New Approach P/l, we are not employment lawyers, but the nations leading workplace advisors. We are leaders in the workplace, community commentary and employment rights. Our name (Gary Pinchen) is published in over 100 tribunal decisions. He is also the author of some 400 articles, published across the internet.