Even the best employees are only human. They can feel fatigue, lack of concentration, and listlessness, all of which point to a company’s archnemesis—boredom at work. What are the some of the best ways to minimize boredom at work?
Offer New Challenges
Often, the workers who find themselves suffering from boredom are those in the youngest generation. While Millennials tend to be technologically savvy—and they can often perform tech-related tasks in half the time of their older co-workers—they can also be distracted more easily, meaning those extra minutes of downtime can be a dangerous thing. The solution? Engage their quick minds by organizing seminars or workshops that allow them to pick up new skills that can be useful on the job. A report by Udemy for Business learned that a whopping 80% of employees surveyed would be more interested in their jobs if those jobs involved learning new skills.
Make Sure It’s The Right Fit
If an employee has no love at all for the position she’s in, she may be in the wrong one. Keeping a read on how workers are faring with the tasks they are given can head off boredom before it sets in. It may even be possible to cut costs in the process—a recent study by Intelligence Group found that 64% of millennials said they would prefer to make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they find boring.
Embrace The Mental Wandering
Strange as it may sound, it may make sense to allow employees’ boredom to “run its course.” The mind often becomes bored because it is suffering from exhaustion and needs a break. Instead of assuming that what is needed is a longer list of tasks to complete, consider a system that encourages the regular breaks a mind needs. Essayist Tim Kreider writes in The New York Times, “The space and quiet that idleness provides is…paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”
Perhaps after re-examining how realistic the employee’s workload is, a wise move would be to integrate work and play or work and rest in such a way that workers are allowed to “tune out” at regular intervals. A benefit of this approach is that the quality of the work is likely to increase—allowing an employer to reward quality over quantity, creating a positive, self-perpetuating system.
The Health Factor
Sitting at a desk and staring at a screen, while sometimes unavoidable, can be hard to balance with daily engagement and passionate non-stop participation. It’s a company’s job to ensure its employees aren’t a step away from burnout—and a big factor in that is their physical health. Workplace considerations—natural light (which studies have shown to be a boost to health), healthy snacks, good coffee—can have a rejuvenating effect, and the traditional exercise program benefits or discounted gym membership (with added incentives) can help ensure a high-energy team.
Sometimes the boredom factor stems from simply not being involved enough. Workers who are capable of much more participation, but who are never asked, begin to see their excitement and motivation for the company’s work—the reason they joined the team in the first place—begin to flag. Consider including medium- and even low-level employees in specific, relevant company meetings that can make them feel like an essential part of the business.