‘Bare minimum Mondays’—how sustainable is this Gen Z-led movement?

On Mondays, we quiet quit.

06 March, 2023
‘Bare minimum Mondays’—how sustainable is this Gen Z-led movement?

Boomers are a generation that probably started the myth that the one who stays longer at work is the most productive. They valued hard work; they were so dedicated that their employer meant much more to them than their firstborn. I am a millennial who grew up watching an entire generation of adults following and deepening the hustle culture. So, when I started my career, the first few years, I had more caffeine in my veins than blood and a to-go-brekky lifestyle. I worked so hard that I didn’t have enough time to mourn some of my break-ups. 

Gen Zs are not cut out from the same cloth. They value self-care more than anything else, and their latest trend to finding a work-life-mental health balance is ‘Bare minimum Mondays’(BMM). Many people say it gets lazier and lazier—with quiet quitting first and now doing the bare minimum on the first day of the week. But here’s the thing, BMM isn’t about people not wanting to be productive throughout the week. In fact, it’s the opposite of that. But how sustainable are these trends? Let’s explore...

‘Bare minimum’ isn’t really what it says 

People who need to practise this are those who have been working so hard that they are close to feeling burnt out. How many of us can say that our work day goes exactly as anticipated? Your task list at the start of any day isn’t really the same by the end of it. What happens when there is an impromptu meeting or a deadline to meet? I doubt declaring that you are in your BMM mode will help in real-world scenarios. “They want to do the bare minimum to get the job done and set clear boundaries to improve work-life balance. These employees are still fulfilling their job duties but not subscribing to 'work is life' culture,” points out Zenia, a Gen Z woman working in the travel and tourism industry.

The point here is to start the day on a self-care note. You take it slow. Reach work, sit with a nice cup of coffee, catch up with your colleagues and then go on to resume your tasks. You don’t have to finish a week’s worth of work but just what is required for that day. 


‘Bare minimum Mondays’ and ‘quiet quitting’ 

We’ve heard of quiet quitting (QQ) a lot; the phrase has now become a part of our vocabulary. When someone takes it easy and does the bare minimum, we say they are in a quiet quitting phase. I believe BMM is a subset of that. Here, we decide to QQ just on Mondays. 

Trends such as BMM or QQ have risen due to the pressing need for a work-life balance, says Mehezabin Dordi, a clinical psychologist at Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai. “The recent Covid pandemic was the ultimate reset button. People started asking the bigger questions—about their work, their lives and their expectations of it. It made people think beyond their work and pay attention to their personal lives,” Dordi explains. 

Stress is anti-productive 

According to studies, work stress has increased by 20 per cent in the last three decades, and around 90 per cent of employees feel that they have experienced it. In fact, one-third of the workforce believes the stress makes it difficult for them to sustain. Experts have also pointed out that stress can lead to more absenteeism and reduced productivity. “This Gen Z- led movement can be seen as a backlash towards the “hustle culture”—the continuous grind culture popularised by many entrepreneurs. It is a direct resistance and disruption of ideas propagated by the hustle culture,” Dordi points out. Starting your work week on a light note can help you manage your stress better, as you prep yourself to battle what lies ahead. 

How sustainable is this? 

Dordi explains there is a fine line between setting healthy boundaries and being disengaged. “It is healthy not to bite more work than you can chew, of course, at the same time it is unhealthy to duck at the site of work or be non-participative,” Dordi points out. “We need to develop more effective and healthier options to attain work-life balance, be optimally productive, and give our 100 per cent at work,” Dordi adds. 

Niharika Gaba, an HR professional, says that if you turn up every Monday and do only the bare minimum, it can impact your growth. “The employee also needs to understand that they can’t be doing just the bare minimum if they want to move up the ladder. If you want to grow, you obviously have to go a little beyond the bare minimum to get that promotion. While such trends are quite healthy in terms of setting boundaries, the employee also needs to be aware of the fact that to grow, they need to hold on to their drive while ensuring a work-life balance.” 

Doing the bare minimum on Mondays is okay as long as you are flexible to step up when needed. If that recharges you to power through the week, why not? It trickles down to how you manage your work and at what point you feel you have the option to take it easy. Employers need to understand boundaries, and employees need to set them while also being a reliable resource.