Where does boredom at work start?

Boredom at work might seem like a trivial issue, but its long-term, serious effects bear upon both the employee and the employer who has to struggle against increasing employee turnover and associated costs. What is also concerning, according to the Udemy report „51% of employees say they often hear colleagues express feelings of boredom or disengagement”. Even one or two bored employees can negatively affect the engagement of the whole team. It’s time to take a closer look at boredom at work.

Boredom at work doesn’t equal little workload

On the one hand, boredom might arise at work when employees have nothing to do so they just sit and wait for the next task or e-mail. However, this rarely happens in current offices.

A completely different situation occurs much more often – there is a lot of work to do but it mostly consists of tedious, repetitive tasks. Every day, for example, you make the same reports, check invoices or sort documents. If, along with that, your work doesn’t provide growth opportunities, it shouldn’t be surprising that you get bored.

Boredom results from incorrect work organisation, but also from repetitive tasks

According to the Aon report even 40% of employees in Europe are not engaged at work. One of the potential causes of boredom and the resulting lack of engagement is incorrect work organisation. There are situations when managers – be it due to lacking competence or being overworked – assign the same task to several workers or assign the same task several times.

This often ties to another cause – not realising the potential of employees or not deploying their competences. An employee who achieves fantastic results might get more similar tasks rather than growth opportunities because their manager doesn’t want them to quit. It isn’t, of course, a successful strategy – according to the Monitor Rynku Pracy (Job Market Monitor) 36th ed. even 46% of employees change jobs to grow professionally.

When discussing causes of boredom, we have to return to repetitive tasks. In most offices there is a lot of such tasks and they have to meet certain quality norms – and so monotony and routine creep into work. Even the most interesting tasks done the same way for a long time can get boring. Usually, though, the tasks in question aren’t very demanding. But because of their volume neither employees nor managers have time to consider how to streamline work and make space for more ambitious projects. And so we arrive at another cause of boredom – not using available tools, even as simple as Excel.

In the next article I will discuss what exactly boredom at work results in and how it can be countered.

 

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Katarzyna Adamczewska
HR manager