Who could possibly be bored in this day and age? With all the new and exciting technology for both leisure and business, why would anyone be bored? With games like Rovio Entertainment’s Angry Birds claiming our rapt attention and VoIP services making business even more mobile with their new touch-based platform, it’s hard to believe that we even have TIME to be bored. But according to some new studies conducted by different independent researchers (detailed in this CNN article) boredom is now a problem – especially in the context of the workplace.
Why shine the spotlight on boredom?
Over the years, we have come to recognize the role of stress in the workplace and learned that while SOME stress is good for productivity, TOO MUCH can be extremely harmful to both the employee and the organization. Today, the new point of concern is that people are starting to get bored – not because they have nothing to do, but because they have nothing ENGAGING to do.
Boredom, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t automatically exclude the concept of productivity. You can be productive on paper while still being bored at the same time. You can be stressed and bored at the same time. And, more often than not, you can attribute most of it to an organization’s attempt to make operations ever more efficient – automation and bureaucracy reduce human contact and make certain processes seem redundant, respectively.
The worst part about this is that, much like stress, this can affect anyone from any position in the company.
Why this happens, and why this is bad
It may be because we have more technology that made getting things done RIGHT NOW possible, or it may be because we’ve come from a generation that desperately wants to find fulfillment in professions that don’t necessarily pay well. Either way, you and I are more likely to not find satisfaction in a job that has neither variety nor meaning. And ultimately, we’ll resent our employers for this, causing us to leave for other more exciting opportunities or worse – we’ll find ourselves sabotaging the organization.
The effect is especially devastating on the BEST workers, if only because they thrive in challenging and exciting environments. For this type of professional, monotony is never good – and it’s even worse when they have nothing to do that calls for their actual talents. Attempting to provide them with “something to do” just for the sake of making them busy inspires them to do nothing more than phone in their work, leading to further disengagement. The need to do something TRULY important is strong in these individuals, and it really shouldn’t be ignored.
Why it shouldn’t have to be a big problem
The thing is that it’s blindingly obvious what should be done about this situation: find something to care about. This doesn’t just apply to the businesses that need to motivate their employees; it also applies to the workers who need to be more proactive in their attempts at alleviating boredom. Rather than having either party act independently from each other, they need to work together in order to find more fulfilling ways to operate a company.
The very best way to do this is, of course, to incorporate a culture of openness; one that lets people know the larger purpose of each task and allows them to ask questions and bring up issues. That way, everyone can feel that what they do actually matters and ultimately stop them from feeling bored.