The effects of boredom at work can be long-lasting, but there are solutions

Workers help keep our communities running.

Widespread vacancies are causing closures and impacting services. In early December, the New York National Guard deployed personnel to health facilities across the state to assist in areas in need.

Existing staffing shortages compounded by the Great Resignation, particularly in sectors that rely on front-line workers, are impacting an organization’s ability to provide service to the public.

The exact reason behind the trend varies. But the effects have a lasting impact.

Robert Nealon is a recruitment expert and district president for Robert Half, a global talent management solutions and business consulting firm. Last year, the company conducted a survey to find out how workers felt and why.

Bob Neon

They surveyed 2,400 professionals in the United States. The common theme reported is that many people are simply bored – to tears – with their jobs.

At the start of the pandemic, companies reduced their workforces. Many of them have completely stopped hiring until the end of 2020.

Because of this, Nealon said, workloads have increased for many. And when someone receives more work than they can absorb, it causes an otherwise good staff member to disengage.

The survey results show:

  • 20% of people who changed jobs in the past 6 months said boredom was their main reason for changing jobs.
  • For participants who answered questions about skill development, 44% felt “stuck”.

Boredom is under the control of a company, Nealon said. “The employer has an obligation to keep employees engaged, and there are things any organization can do to prevent their staff from developing these feelings,” he said.

Boredom at work disrupts business as usual

Stephanie Broussard

Stephanie Broussard, Regional Director of Robert Half, is based in the Rochester area. She manages a team of 45 employment professionals in upstate New York. On the exciting topic of boredom, Broussard said companies can assign extended assignments to employees to combat the doldrums.

“When employers sprinkle in extra assignments, it breaks up the work day and work year. It gives people a sense of fulfillment,” she said.

As per usual ? Not really.

Broussard said a whopping 41% of workers who took the survey planned to look for a new job in 2022 and 28% of that same group want to leave their current job so badly that they would do without another lined up.

Nealon, who oversees Robert Half sites in northern New England, including parts of New York state, said that during the throes of the pandemic, the focus was on the external situation ( health and safety) and less focus on the whole employee and their career. path.

Now people are getting up and leaving their workplaces at a record pace. “Some people feel like their careers have stalled. The pandemic has slowed down advancement,” he said.

Mental health experts step in

Marc Grossman, a New York-based psychotherapist, wants to help his patients see that they don’t have to quit their current job to fix the problem.

“The number one reason the patients I work with have said they are looking for a new job is that they are bored with their current job,” he said.

Grossman said boredom at work can have serious consequences, including demotivation, disengagement, anxiety and sadness. These feelings, over time, can lead to burnout, depression and illness, he said.

“Boredom can be reversed if you’re willing to work at it, take the right steps,” Grossman said.

Employers have realized that labor standards, like everything else, are changing. Finding creative ways to recruit and retain talent has become common practice: companies want to prove that they are the best place to work.

What retains and creates loyal employees? Is it a salary, a flexibility, an opportunity, a parking space? Some sort of mash-up?

In this competitive job market, what are you doing to set your business apart and keep your employees engaged?

How to spot the signs of boredom at work

According to experts, boredom at work can impact employee engagement and disrupt business.

We drink water when we are thirsty. We look for a job when we feel stagnant.

To avoid this, as high turnover is expensive and can hurt your business, Nealon and Broussard have some tips for employers and workers to help them combat feelings of disengagement at work.

Here are some telltale signs that your employees are suffering from boredom, according to the professionals at Robert Half:

1. If work productivity suddenly drops or someone is less focused on their usual tasks, it may indicate that they are disengaged.

2. Employees can get involved in other things to keep the job interesting.

3. A person may also exhibit unusual behavioral changes, such as logging off early, arriving late, or having longer lunches than usual.

What to do to avoid boredom at work

If you want to keep your employees, here are some things to do, say employment experts Nealon and Broussard:

1. Involve them in project-based work by modifying their daily tasks. If a staff member has never led a team, let them lead a small project.

2. Start a mentorship program by allowing junior staff to study with more experienced team members, that way they can decide on a career path within your organization.

3. Conduct “stay interviews” to help identify challenges. Unless you talk to people individually, you’ll never know what they want, what they need – communication can help them regain hope and enthusiasm for their work.

Broussard said managers should schedule monthly 1:1 meetings with employees to discuss workloads.

“During these conversations, you can tell if staff members are overworked or even underutilized,” she said.

4. Provide meaningful training opportunities to help employees grow. If you don’t have the budget to send employees, there are a plethora of online certification programs that will excite them and enhance their contributions to your business.

What if you are bored at work?

Here are some tips for those of us who drink way too much coffee to get through the day.

For those who are bored at work, Nealon and Broussard say:

1. Take action. It’s not going to get better if you don’t do anything.

2. Don’t just quit your job. Set up a game plan to find a job that interests you.

3. Write a list of pros and cons, so that if you contact a recruiter, it can help you decide what to do next.

If you’ve spoken with your boss and you’re still bored, it’s probably time to think things over, Broussard said.

There is something quite alarming about the Great Resignation. With each departure, there is experience and history lost. “Any time someone isn’t engaged, it can erode the culture. When people decide they’re actually in a rut, companies experience higher revenue,” Nealon said.

Robert Half is an international recruitment firm. For more information on what they do, you can find them at

Amorette Miller is a columnist for the Democrat & Chronicle. It focuses on stories of people and cultures that are underrepresented in the community and on topics related to careers and the workforce. She can be found at @amorettemiller.

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