HR & Management
"Descent into hell": Boredom is taking its toll on staff
3 min read
30 May 2017
Audio Boom once dedicated a podcast to workplace motivation, claiming most jobs evoked boredom to a certain degree – a topic that has since quickly gained traction.
The discussion, spurred on by guest speaker Anthony Hughes, founder of Coburg Banks, followed news that Frédéric Desnard, manager of perfume company Interparfums, took his former employer to court for workplace boredom.
Desnard claimed it was “similar to burnout, but less interesting” – a “descent into hell” – and he isn’t alone in deeming it as such. CV-Library research recently indicated 44.9 per cent of UK workers have been in a similar state, proving Hughes’ point true.
Of the 1,200 workers it surveyed, 54 per cent admitted to searching for a new job because of it. When asked why they were bored, respondents cited the following as the top reasons:
1) I do the same thing every day – 26.6 per cent
2) I dislike my job – 21.8 per cent
3) My daily tasks are tedious – 16.6 per cent
4) There’s little for me to do – 14.3 per cent
5) I work alone – 8.3 per cent
Only 19.3 per cent of staff had never felt boredom at work.
Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, said: “Boredom is getting the best of workers. With so much of our adult lives spent in work, enjoyment is of paramount importance. Prolonged boredom in a job can lead, very quickly, to burnout, low productivity and inevitably a high turnover of staff for businesses.”
Employees, he explained, need to feel engaged and comfortable with both their environment and colleagues to truly be happy, not to mention maintain productivity.
Top methods used by staff to get through the boring times is to prioritise their workload. This, 28.8 per cent of respondents said, helped them re-engage with the work at hand. Some 15 per cent gave themselves deadlines to work towards, while 12.8 per cent listed to music when they could.
The latter echoes advice from Steve Gordon, director of RDQLUS Creative Arts and Marketing, who suggested it helped to remove yourself entirely from work before jumping in once more. It was a method bosses and staff alike should use more often.
“If I catch myself bored with a project,” he told Fast Company, “I’ll stop to read magazines or watch a film, even in the middle of the day. I search for something far away from work, yet linked to the same battery crucial to that work.”
It’s essential to recognise workers need time away from their desks. Research by Public Health England, authored by researchers in the UK, US and Australia, espoused this concept in 2015 by championing regular walks and standing desks. One of the co-authors, Gavin Bradley, maintained: “We are creatures of habit and we have come to the wrong conclusion, that sitting is the optimum way of conducting office work. We need an environment where people feel much more liberated, and much more relaxed.”