Boredom at work: 3 tips to avoid & prevent a boreout
By 2DAYSMOODIES | 27/01/2023
“Another boring day behind us,” you think as you close your laptop. We’ve all probably had this at one time or another. But for some employees, this is more common than others. When there is prolonged boredom at work, it can lead to boreout. What causes this? And what can you do about it? In this blog you will read three practical tips to prevent a boreout in your employees.
A burnout or a boreout?
Boredom at work is the precursor to boreout. Being bored for long periods of time can lead to symptoms similar to those of burnout. Yet burnout, boreout and boredom at work differ from each other. Boredom is something we all experience from time to time – perhaps you are having a quiet period at work or are working on a boring project. Burnout involves an imbalance between what you can do and what you must do, and is caused by prolonged stress. A boreout, on the other hand, can be caused by (among others) the following factors:
- You have too little work and too much time on your hands. You finish your work quickly and therefore have nothing to do most of the day.
- Your work does not give you satisfaction. If you feel like you are not contributing anything, the reasons to work may be far beyond your reach.
- The work is framed by too much routine and the same procedures. You have too little autonomy and can’t decide by yourself how to do your work.
- You perform below your level or can do more than you actually do. If your work is not challenging, it can cause long-term boredom.
Symptoms of boredom at work
If you are dealing with the above factors for a long time, your work will no longer be enjoyable in the long run. You may then experience boreout symptoms or even a full-blown boreout. It is important to spot this early to prevent worse. The signs of boreout are similar to those of burnout. What should you look out for?
- You can’t concentrate well at work and often put off tasks because you don’t feel like doing them.
- You sleep poorly, feel lethargic and are more easily irritable.
- During working hours you are busy with all kinds of things, but work doesn’t really get done.
- You feel as if the day is creeping by and time is passing very slowly.
- You have little self-confidence and become stressed by a feeling of helplessness and boredom.
Fighting boredom at work
As a manager, team leader or employer, you want to avoid prolonged boredom at work as much as possible. Of course, there may be times when there are quiet periods and employees are eager to get to work. But if there is prolonged boredom, this can therefore lead to bore-out and even long-term employee attrition. And you want to avoid that at all costs, because first, you want happy employees, and second, long-term absenteeism costs quite a bit of money. How can you prevent bore-out?
TIP 1: Look at job crafting opportunities
Have you ever heard of job crafting? This term has to do with agile, sustainably employable employees who primarily do what they enjoy and are good at. If you have the space in your organization, you can see if employees can take on certain roles that match their talents and interests. This way, they enrich their work by doing different jobs and can capitalize on their talents. And in general, talent-oriented work works positively: employees then feel they are doing more meaningful work and adding something to the organization.
TIP 2: Invest in training and development
It is healthy for employees to be constantly developing. This ensures that they have challenges in their work, learn new things and don’t dwell in the same place for too long. And this is good for preventing boredom at work. If you keep learning new things and can use them in your work, your work remains challenging.
Training and development is also one of the core aspects of employee happiness. In the Employee Happiness Model, we see that this factor contributes to how engaged, enthusiastic and happy employees are at work. And that in turn works positively against boredom: engaged employees are more inclined to devote themselves to their organization.
Tip 3: Measure and monitor the mood of employees
As a team leader, do you talk to your employees once in a while about how they are doing? Do you keep track of their answers and evaluate them at the next meeting? Probably not. But the mood of employees can add so much to the early detection of the symptoms of a boreout. That is why it is important to ask very frequently, in an approachable way, how your employees are doing. And especially to make this measurable, so you can keep an eye on trends and developments.
With the 2DAYSMOOD tool, you send your employees a 15-second survey every week (or as often as you want) with the question: “How are you feeling today?”. Simple, but super effective. In handy dashboards and overviews, you get insight into the moods in your team. Do you see stress, or do employees often give neutral answers? Then it’s a good idea to start talking about burnout and boreout symptoms. Even before it gets out of hand, you can take action. See how it works here.
Boredom at work: take action quickly!
So it is essential to catch a boreout early. If you don’t take the right actions, you run the risk of employees dropping out long-term. And you don’t want that!