In our last post, we looked at the reasons for your employees becoming burned out, however, on the opposite end of the scale, it’s possible for them to suffer from another type of mental distress: boreout.

Boreout, as it sounds, is when someone consistently feels bored and unstimulated at work. Whereas burnout occurs from doing too much, boreout is the result of doing too little.

Now, although they sound like conflicting problems, boreout can actually have similar consequences to employees burning out.

What are the consequences of boreout?

Increased absence from work

Much like burnout, the first and most significant consequence of employee boredom is an increase in unplanned absences. If a member of staff feels they’re performing the same tedious tasks day in and day out, they’ll lose their enthusiasm for work. Soon, this could develop into them dreading coming into work and having to drag themselves into the office, as they count down the days to the weekend.

Consequently, an employee suffering from boreout is more likely to call in sick. Unlike someone who enjoys what they do, they’re unlikely to push through feeling slightly ill to come into work – and there’s less chance of them choosing to work from home.

Worse still, long-term, their persistent state of boredom could actually contribute to them falling ill, particularly mental conditions like depression and anxiety. 

Employees fail to live up to their potential

Employees become bored because their work isn’t challenging enough and they’re capable of more. However, if they’re not pushed to do more, they won’t discover dormant skills that could be built upon. Subsequently, if these skills aren’t nurtured, they’ll never achieve what they’re capable of.

Not only is this highly unfortunate for the employee, who never gets to venture down a much more rewarding career path, but your company misses out on their potential contribution too.

Higher employee turnover rate

Bored employees are more likely to leave your company and seek employment elsewhere. However, such employees can also often have a negative effect on their colleagues, who could find communicating and co-operating with them difficult. If this happens, it will affect your overall company culture, leading to even more of your staff seeking employment elsewhere.

How do you prevent your employees becoming bored at work?

Talk to them

The easiest, yet most effective, way of preventing boreout is to talk to your employees. While some companies reserve conversations of this kind for annual appraisals, there’s no reason to wait. You can take an employee you suspect of succumbing to boredom and discuss important aspects of their professional life, such as:

  • How they’re feel about their work and their current role within your company.
  • Which areas of the business they’d like to be involved in and where they see themselves going within the organisation.
  • If they’re actually bored at work and how they feel they could be more stimulated.

As well as speaking to your employees yourself, this is something that HR can help out with. HR can also arrange ant training said employee might need and keep track of their progress.

Consistently push your employees

Another way to prevent boreout amongst your employees is to systematically stretch their capabilities. Constantly delegate work to them to get a sense of their strengths and weaknesses, how much they can be pushed, and how they handle pressure.

Some of your staff will enjoy being pushed and rise to the challenge. Others, meanwhile, will appreciate it less and may need to be brought along at a slower pace – but they won’t be bored. Your challenge is then determining which employees can be pushed and to what extent, which is a much different, and preferable, problem to employees suffering from boreout.