A new working trend has divided experts with one claiming it is ‘dangerous’ and ‘a matter of life or death’ and another claiming it could save lives.
Bare Minimum Monday is a TikTok trend that is being adopted in some workplaces, with employees using part of the work day to go to the gym or do household chores.
It has been roundly criticized as an excuse for laziness, especially among younger workers who are overwhelmed by the pressures of full-time work.
While psychologist Joe Hart condemned it as ‘dangerous’, his colleague Dr Jim Bright said it could not only make workers more productive it could also be a life-saving measure.
Bare Minimum Monday is a TikTok trend that is being adopted by some workplaces, where employees take it easy during the week and even use part of the workday to go to the gym or do household chores.
An organizational psychologist pointed to research findings showing that ‘life-threatening’ heart attacks occur more often on Mondays and argued that allowing workers to choose the pace at which they work would make them ‘more productive’.
But Dr Bright, an organizational psychologist for more than 20 years, points to respected research showing that ‘life-threatening’ heart attacks occur more often on Mondays.
An analysis of Irish Health Service records found that the first day of the working week is 13 per cent more likely to have a heart attack, a phenomenon known as ‘Blue Monday’ among doctors.
Researchers say this may be due to increased stress as work pressures increase after a relaxing weekend.
The findings come from a study of 10,528 patients admitted to hospital for the most serious type of heart attack in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland between 2013 and 2018.
But the study was presented at the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) conference last June.
All of the patients were admitted with very severe heart attacks known as ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
Dr Bright, who is also director of research at Becom Education, told Daily Mail Australia that ‘as long as people get their work done’, allowing employees discretion over the pace of work during a career, or even across a contract.
‘I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that it’s harmful and there’s actually a lot of evidence to say that how they do their work and the pace at which they move reduces stress,’ he said.
‘Generally giving employees as much discretion as is reasonable tends to reduce stress and anxiety.’
The ‘Bare Minimum Monday’ trend continues to divide opinion. Psychologist Stephanie Thompson (pictured above) says the advice workers should be given is ‘barely minimal and unnecessarily extreme’.
He added that the idea wouldn’t work for all employees — such as those whose jobs are inherently high-stress, such as nurses, pilots and train drivers.
An Australian manager, Caitlin Winter, took to TikTok to praise Bare Minimum Monday, saying it was ‘amazing’ for her team as it took the pressure off everyone.
Ms Winter added that allowing herself to ‘start the week slowly’ meant she could go to the gym on Monday mornings, enjoy her breakfast and do things she would never find time for.
Stephanie Thompson, a corporate psychologist and executive coach, told Daily Mail Australia that the trend was probably ‘normal’ but the suggestion that workers could do the ‘bare minimum’ was unnecessarily extreme’.
‘Although it makes the week easier in a biological and psychological sense if we have the kind of work that allows it, it also means not scheduling key meetings on Monday mornings, giving our ‘work brain’ time to warm up,’ she said. .
Dr Bright told Daily Mail Australia that ‘as long as people get their work done’, allowing workers discretion over the pace at which they work will make them ‘more productive’ during working hours.
An Australian manager, Caitlin Winter, took to TikTok to praise Bare Minimum Monday, saying it had been ‘amazing’ for her team and her own well-being.
‘Importantly, though, if someone dreads Mondays, it’s an indicator of one of three things: a workplace culture that needs serious intervention, the person’s mental health that needs support, or a person who is in the wrong job but resisting change.’
Mr Hart told news.com.au the bare minimum Monday trend was ‘dangerous’ as it ‘could mask problems in workplace culture’.
He said it could allow managers to work poorly instead of focusing on wellness issues with employees.
‘To be a good manager you have to be consistent, you have to listen and you have to care and not everyone is good at that.’
He describes the potential response to work trends as ‘life or death’.
‘I’ve always been an advocate that if you don’t handle it quickly, it’s life or death,’ he said.
‘People suffer, they suffer mental health problems and in the worst cases they commit suicide.’