Bored employees behaving badly

Human Resources Management Bored man in office

Everybody gets a little bored sometimes, don’t they? According to a new study, however, boredom can have a bigger impact on productivity than you think.

Boredom on the job actually causes a considerable amount of stress to employees, it claims.

  • 80% said it causes them to lose concentration
  • 50% said it leads them to making mistakes
  • More than half said boredom would prompt them to look for a new job

In fact, research show that employees are becoming increasingly bored with work—up from rates of 20% to 32% in U.S. studies done over the last 20 years.  So why the increase in apathetic attitudes? It’s likely a nod to generational changes, with Gen Y being notoriously quick to dislike routine.

The “stress” of boredom has a detrimental effect on employers, who will feel the crunch of a productivity loss. One study  found that boredom caused people not just to lose concentration and slack off, but also to direct the stress into negative behaviours like gossiping, arguing, or being rude to others.

So what are the biggest causes of boredom in employees? (And what can you do about it?) Here are three big causes of boredom that can very easily be addressed in any organization:

1) A light or unchallenging workload. There’s nothing worse than having not enough work at work. Everybody gets faster, learns more, and needs new and interesting responsibilities.

2) Not a part of decision making process. Having something to “own” and decisions to think about keep employees engaged in their work. People work harder when their opinions are valued.

3) Not getting enough feedback. Whether bad or good, regular feedback focuses the mind on the tasks at hand and keeps employees engaged in what they’re doing.