Many businesses could be seeing a decline in productivity, as boredom causes more and more employees to turn to non-work related activities to keep themselves entertained during work hours.
New research by Robert Walters has found employees suffer from a mid afternoon slump in productivity as their energy levels dwindle and they get bored. Boredom seems to hit hardest around mid afternoon, with 50 percent of employees admitting they feel bored between 1.30pm -3.30pm.
The survey, which asked 1900 Australian employees how they deal with workplace boredom and lulls, found 85 percent of people do things throughout the workday that were not directly related to their job.
Common things employees said they did to keep themselves entertained included socialising with colleagues, reading news and gossip websites, checking personal email, and checking social network pages.
Robert Walters associate director Adelaide Michelle Cottrell said boredom, fatigue and stress are all factors that lead to lost productivity in the workplace.
“Boredom, fatigue and stress are all triggers for lost productivity in the workplace. Employers need to ensure that their staff are engaged and have enough variety to keep them retained,” Cottrell said.
Dr Sandi Mann, a psychologist from the UK University of Central Lancashire, recently conducted a study into boredom levels of office workers and found that a quarter of workers surveyed suffered from chronic boredom. She found employees turned to unhealthy habits such as eating chocolate and drinking coffee as a way of reducing boredom.
“My analysis of the results suggests that the most significant cause of office boredom is an undemanding workload. So managers should look at ways of reducing sources of workplace boredom and at encouraging healthier ways of coping,” Dr Mann said.
Dr Mann suggests doing the following things to help reduce boredom:
- Job rotation– making employees do jobs that they don’t do everyday by switching their tasks with a co-workers could help reduce boredom and increase productivity.
- Multi-skilling– training employees to perform a number of tasks instead of just one could help keep them actively productive.
- Healthy Food– Providing healthy drinks and snacks in the workplace could stop workers from turning to sugary foods that only provide quick bursts of energy, and boost productivity.
- Education- short education courses, re training, or implementing new routines could give employees enthusiasm and a fresh mind set performing tasks they do on a regular basis.
- Communication– ensure that employees know what they are doing and have enough tasks to keep them occupied throughout the workday.
- Fresh air– encourage employees to go outside and walk around on their breaks. Leaving the office or work environment, even only briefly, can leave them refreshed and ready to get back to work.