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Bored workers a result of bad bosses, inefficiency

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
22 February 2018 2 minute readShare
Bored employee

Poor management and general business inefficiency have been identified as among the key factors behind employee boredom in the workplace.

Specialist recruiter Robert Half surveyed 460 hiring managers, with a staggering 87 per cent admitting their staff are bored at work.

And that boredom is far from fleeting, with managers suggesting their employees are bored for around one-sixth of their normal working hours, equivalent to around six hours in a standard 37.5 hour week.

“Boredom in the workplace can happen and should not be alarming if it’s limited and happens sporadically. The impact, however, on organisational productivity from consistently disengaged staff cannot be underestimated as it can ultimately lead to lacklustre business results and even decreased revenue,” said Robert Half Australia director Nicole Gorton.

“Managers therefore need to identify what the main causes are, then take appropriate measures to remedy them.”

According to Robert Half’s research, there is a great deal that employers can do to reduce or even eliminate boredom among their workforce.

This includes eradicating meeting fatigue from an excessive number or poorly executed meetings, providing diversity within roles, removing excessive internal red tape in the form of policies and procedures, as well as conveying the significance of an employee’s role and achievements to the profitability and ongoing success of the business.

Surprisingly, another prominent factor for more than a quarter (27 per cent) of workers was simply not having enough work to do, suggesting that businesses could see a significant boost in productivity simply by better managing the workloads of all staff members.

“Companies have to optimise the time their staff invest in their work. If employees are feeling there’s too much idle time in their workday, managers should assign them additional work to keep them occupied, or delegate workloads from staff who may be overworked and would appreciate an extra hand,” said Ms Gorton.

“Additionally, when employees have too much time on their hands, they should speak up and ask for more tasks and projects to work on. This will not only benefit their productivity levels, but also their career as it shows how committed they are to achieving business success.”

However, the most prominent cause of boredom is less easy to treat, being that the work itself is simply not interesting.

“To gain a sense of professional fulfilment, employees need to be interested in the work they do. Even though most jobs have some mundane tasks linked to it, when employees understand how their work is connected to the overall objective, they will generally find the work meaningful which in turn will limit the feeling of boredom in the workplace,” Ms Gorton said.

She added: “Avoiding boredom in the workplace is a shared responsibility. Companies need to ensure staff find their work interesting and equally, employees can combat a boring routine by asking their boss to work on more stimulating projects.

“With the prevalent skills shortage in Australia, companies can’t afford to have a bored workforce. The impact of a disengaged workforce not only affects company productivity and results – bored employees are more likely to look for other jobs that spark their interests, resulting in higher staff turnover rates.”

Reasons for employee boredom in the workplace

  • The nature of work is not interesting (44 per cent)
  • Too many or poorly executed meetings (37 per cent)
  • Lack of diversity within the role (34 per cent)
  • Not feeling challenged by assignments (31 per cent)
  • Not enough work to do (27 per cent)
  • Don’t enjoy interacting with colleagues (22 per cent)
  • Poor or inefficient management (17 per cent)
  • Overburdened by strict policies and procedures (13 per cent)
  • Lack of understanding of the significance of their role (8 per cent)
Bored workers a result of bad bosses, inefficiency
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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