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1 posts from June 1, 2012

June 01, 2012

Is workplace boredom the new stress?

Yawning at workIt used to drive me crazy to watch a co-worker playing solitaire every day on her computer.

I wondered how she possibly had time to do it. Of course, she eventually got fired. But I'm not really sure she cared. She was a good editor, but she obviously was bored with her job. When she did edit, she seemed pretty talented. It frustrated me that someone in an authority position didn't pick up on her boredom and try to channel her into a more challenging position that made use of her talent.

Forbes reports that boredom has become the unseen productivity killer rippling through workplaces. Sure, most of us are busier than we've ever been. But being busy doesn't mean you're not bored. Right?

From what I've seen, boredom usually leads to a lot of wasted time on the web. Look around your workplace, I bet someone is surfing the web right now.

Productivity expert Andre Angel says Gen Y'ers are more easily bored than any generation in history. Studies show that 53% of them go on the Internet for no reason at all, which leads to some serious time wasting. "They may appear busy, but between checking the latest sports scores, their email, Facebook, Twitter and texting, hours can go by without any real work being done,"  Angel says.

You may be thinking, "My employee can't possibly be bored. I give him tons to do."


Boredom may be commonly understood as not having enough to do, but it's really about not being challenged enough, says Richard Chaifetz, a neuropsychologist and the CEO of ComPsych, a provider of employee assistance programs.

The recession has had something to do with workplace boredom. More of us are stuck doing mundane, repetitive tasks we were forced to take over after our co-workers were laid off. Or maybe we're bored because we have no control over decisions.


 “The costs can be extreme—lack of productivity, significant errors and catastrophic accidents,” Chaifetz says.


If you're bored, speak up and asked to be challenged more, experts say. If you are a manager, ask your employee what would help them feel more engaged.



Confess, do you feel bored at work?