Workplace boredom is a real threat that could be creeping up on your employees. By slacking off, taking extra-long lunch breaks, or secretly playing with their phones, studies show that this is a risk that affects one in four office workers, even your highest-performing employees.
How Does This Impact You?
According to Sandi Mann, a senior psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, in England, anger is the first commonly hidden workplace emotion; can you guess what comes next? Boredom. Mann feels that as a society, people are becoming less tolerant to boredom. Instead, they have a need to be fulfilled by everything they do, and if employees aren’t fulfilled, they can become bored easily, causing them to lose concentration and make mistakes.
Compare this generation to your grandparent’s generation, a time when people were pressed to simply have a job. They did things out of a sense of duty and commitment, not necessarily because they were searching for fulfillment. Mann says, “That attitude has changed. Now, we get people quite commonly quitting higher paid jobs for jobs that are lower paid but more satisfying.”
Are Your Employees Bored?
If your employees are falling victim to boredom in the office, you might notice they seem to be withdrawn and suddenly prone to failure at work. When people get bored, they become disengaged. In fact, there’s little correlation between workload and boredom. The busiest employee can find themselves bored just as easily as the employee who has all the free time in the world. The real threat here is repetitiveness. Many companies routinize their tasks and interactions to the point of dullness and boredom.
According to a research conducted by Gallup, 71% of American workers are either not engaged or actively disengaged from their jobs. Interestingly so, your highly educated and middle-aged workers are the least enthusiastic about their work. As a manager, you need to help your employees realize why their jobs are so important. Reward their efforts and explain to them how their contributions are part of the bigger picture. Otherwise, it’s just work.
Every company tries to handle the threat of employee boredom in their own way. One option would be to design scorekeeping games among your team. Not only will this track productivity, but it will also help keep your employees engaged. Another excellent way to counteract boredom is to introduce fun team-building and leadership games to the office. This gives everyone a chance to relax, get away from their desks, and bond as a team.
In order to avoid losing your most prized employees to a simple threat like boredom, make an effort to initiate regular conversations with your employees. Ask them if there’s anything you can do to make them feel more engaged and productive. Perhaps, they may want to take on a new project or make modifications to an existing one. Either way, communicating with your employees on all levels is the best way to help ensure you keep your top talent.
Do you think boredom is plaguing your office? If so, what do you plan on doing to solve it? Let us know in the comments section below!