Forget Burnout, Are You “Bored Out”?


Cold calls, data entry, and zooming for the sake of zooming—does your workday feel like Groundhog Day?  Does your 2pm sigh echo off nearby cubicles?  Do you struggle to find coffee powerful enough to keep you awake all day?

If yes, you may be experiencing job “boreout.”

Just like burnout, boreout is a real phenomenon affecting millions of workers.  It can lead to health concerns such as depression and insomnia.

For employers, boreout means low employee motivation and high turnover rates.  In fact, the estimated cost of actively disengaged employees in the US is between $450 and $550 billion in lost productivity per year (Gallup).

Boredom is a part any job, but when is boring just TOO boring?  Can anything be done, or is it time to look for another position?

Who is Affected by Boreout?

Being bored at work is fairly common, according to study by Udemy of 1,000 full time office workers.  Forty-three percent of those surveyed feel bored.  A whopping fifty-one percent of respondents reporting boredom said they are bored more than half of their work week.

But being bored is different from feeling bored-out.  Those affected by boreout are bored over time from having either not enough work to do or having work that is not stimulating enough. “With a boreout, you get stuck in your ‘comfort zone’ for too long, until your personal development comes to a halt. A burn-out happens when you stay for too long in your ‘effort zone’ until all your energy is gone,” says Psychologist Steve Savels.  The bored-out person is not experiencing any personal development.

Signs of Serious Bore-out

People who suffer from serious boreout feel like their job is meaningless.  They describe their work as having no value or purpose.

These feelings can quickly lead to health problems.  “A 2021 study showed that 186 government workers in Turkey who suffered from boreout also dealt with depression, and high rates of stress and anxiety,” according to BBC reporter Bryan Lufkin. “Depression from bore out can follow workers outside the office, and lead to physical ailments from insomnia to headaches.”

Since personal and professional is intertwined with any employee, employers should not overlook the personal side of growth.  Many employees have outside passions that employers can factor into the growth equation.  These could include charitable causes, an advanced degree, or even getting in shape. These are great ways to create employee happiness and growth.

Steps to Take to Fix Bore-Out

In some situations, the only solution may be to find a new role.  Ask yourself these important questions:

  • Which parts of my job are the most boring? Is there a way these tasks could be automated or divided up amongst other staff?
  • Was I ever passionate about this role? Do I still find inspiration in some parts of the job?
  • Will the role improve over time? Is there opportunity to grow within the company?

Our jobs should give us purpose and lead to career growth.  Good managers should be open to developing and challenging workers.

If you are bored-out, share your frustration with management.  There may be little they can do to help you with your current role, but they should be open to listen and brainstorm ways to learn skills to help your situation.  Lotta Harju, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at EM Lyon Business School, France, says that “even though the work itself is not all that exciting, other aspects of work, such as having good relationships at the workplace or feeling appreciated by the employer, can to some extent compensate for and bring meaning to tedious work. There are many ways to make workers feel like the time they spend at work is noticed, appreciated and worthwhile.”

If you feel like you will never be interested or fulfilled in your current role, the best solution for your boreout may be to look for a new job. The market is hot. Rely on the experts at Artemis Consultants to help you find a role that is challenging and invigorating–even without strong coffee.

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