The first mile of a run often feels the hardest.
There’s a scientific reason for that. Your body just picked up the pace, and your heart and oxygen levels haven’t caught up yet.
But, if you keep going, your body eventually syncs. The key word here is IF – because not all who start will finish a race.
Running isn’t the only situation where starting feels more challenging than the rest of the project. Starting a new week can feel just as draining.
Your Monday morning alarm goes off after a weekend of sleeping in, and your body is unprepared for another day of work. So, instead, you participate in what has been termed “minimum effort Mondays.”
Let’s look at what minimum effort Mondays are and how you can combat this issue in the workplace to regain that valuable day of productivity.
What Are Minimum Effort Mondays?
Minimum effort Mondays are days when employees do just enough for management not to fire them.
It’s like when someone asks for a 500-800-word response, and you give them 499 words.
Many professionals have embraced this mentality of working less at the start of the week, saying it reduces their stress and anxiety.
But does it work? Does putting minimum effort into ANYTHING actually reduce anxiety when you know you’re only kicking the can down the road?
Procrastination doesn’t change deadlines. It only piles up the workload for a later date, which typically increases workplace stress and anxiety.
Leader – you can chart a better course for your team. Here’s how.
7 Ways to Combat Minimum Effort Mondays Through Team Development
Here are seven strategies to get you started with team development.
1. Acknowledge the Challenge
If your employees show signs of exhaustion or look unmotivated, start by uncovering what’s causing it and address that.
Just yelling, “Work harder,” isn’t going to get the job done. Skilled leaders must invest the time and resources to care about their team beyond productivity.
When someone shows up to work on Monday exhausted, the problem is probably not with their work, but with their life outside of work.
The employee who sluggishly clocks in is probably unmotivated. Employee disengagement is the highest it’s been in nearly a decade!
Mondays can be challenging for everyone, but for different reasons. Acknowledge the challenge, believe the best of your team, and offer the individualized support each person needs so they can thrive in the workplace – and beyond.
2. Create Smaller Tasks and Wins
If your employees feel overwhelmed, you might have to cut up their tasks into bite-sized pieces. You aren’t reducing the workload; you’re just making it manageable.
Just ask Fredrick Winslow Taylor.
He increased workplace productivity by four times! How? He gave people the tools to accomplish achievable goals, one shovel at a time.
In an industrial setting where laborers shoveled all day, he found the optimum weight a person could shovel for maximum efficiency.
Surprise! It wasn’t the biggest, heaviest shovel with the meanest boss yelling the loudest. People’s productivity skyrocketed when their tasks were broken up into manageable amounts.
Having smaller tasks also helps employees feel more accomplished. They have several wins throughout the day rather than working all day on the same task and not feeling like they made any progress.
3. Set Clear Expectations
A clip from Schitt’s Creek once caught the internet’s attention. This scene from the popular TV show shows a mother teaching her son how to cook.
She tells him to “fold in the cheese.” Confused, the son asks what “fold in the cheese” means. The mother, equally baffled, responds, “You take the cheese, and you fold it.”
Company communication can easily feel like a similar circular conversation. Management says they want more productivity, while employees ask what productivity means.
Without clear expectations of what you expect from your team, they are more likely to take creative liberties with how much effort they put into their job and what they accomplish each day.
A list of desired corporate behaviors and tasks keeps everyone on the same page and sets clear expectations.
4. Retain Monday Morning Accountability
Something I teach at Full Sail Leadership Academy is accountability as the highest form of praise.
Remind your staff you believe in them while simultaneously holding them accountable for their actions. A ship can’t sail without its entire crew. Giving a crew member responsibility is a form of praise, showing you trust them to fulfill their role on the crew.
Team members will also begin seeing the connection between their actions and their differences in the whole business. That will encourage them to take more responsibility and work harder every day.
5. Decrease Micromanagement Through Leadership Development
If you want your employees to work more, you need to… stop telling them to work more.
Wait, how does that work?
Micromanagement sucks the soul dry by removing a person’s independence and motivation. Hold people accountable to accomplish goals, not just tasks. When people feel ownership, they are more motivated to fulfill their responsibilities.
6. Focus on Culture and Engagement
“Creating an employee experience that inspires individuals to show up to work each day is the most effective way to achieve this,” says Joe Galvin, the Chief Research Officer of Vistage.
With a strong work culture, you unify your employees in-person and remotely, increasing their engagement. Removing micromanagement and creating pride in each person’s achievements is the first step in engaging your employees.
You’ll also want to remove any barriers and distractions while providing tools and resources for success. Those tools will reduce burnout and make work on Monday morning a little less daunting.
7. Implement Mentorship Programs for Team Building
Younger and newer staff are often the most likely to feel those Monday blues. A surprising 37.9% of employees who quit their jobs quit within the first year. Additionally, two out of three left their organization within six months.
A lack of career development and support is a top reason. In contrast, 94% of employees said they would stay longer if they had more learning and development opportunities.
Having a mentor for leadership development can relieve a considerable load from these younger and newer staff members’ backs while offering career development opportunities. They’ll have someone they can rely on, ask questions of, and feel supported by, giving them renewed energy at the start of the week.
Say Goodbye to Minimum Effort Mondays
You are sailing in dangerous waters with half your crew doing the bare minimum to keep the ship afloat. That’s not sustainable in the long run.
It’s time you grabbed your boat’s helm in both hands and started in a new direction where each employee feels supported, valued, and eager to begin the following week.
Do you need help turning your ship around through leadership training?
Start with one of our team building and leadership development courses.
Check out our workshops to learn more about building a strong and motivated team.