As an employer, it’s disheartening to think of any of your team members being bored at work. Not only is it counterproductive to a happy and engaging workplace culture, office boredom also goes hand in hand with lack of motivation and a subsequent drop in productivity.
It’s a common misconception to think that office boredom derives from not having enough to do, but it’s actually a result of not being challenged enough, according to neuropsychologist Richard Chaifetz. Many of us are busier than ever due to being constantly connected to our emails, yet we’re not being creatively challenged, which ultimately leads to boredom and detachment from our work.
The good news is, there are plenty of simple ways to nip office boredom in the bud and reinvigorate your team. Here are our top 10 tips.
Let’s face it, there aren’t many people that would feel inspired staring at a grey wall for eight hours straight. Environment has a big impact on employee productivity and motivation levels, so it’s worth spending some time getting it right.
The more customisable you can make it, the better, too. Encourage employees to bring in items to really make their desk their own. This might be photographs, plants, or even cushions to help them feel more comfortable. Of course, you have to strike a good balance between a customised space and one filled with distractions, but get it right and you’ll find you have a happier and more motivated workforce.
From ergonomic chairs to smart phone systems, there are tonnes of technologies out there specifically designed to combat boredom and ensure your staff remain more physically and mentally active throughout the course of the day.
Changing up how your staff work at their desks is one of the quickest ways to beat office boredom – not only is it very easy to switch off if you’re sat in the same position for eight hours straight, it’s also a fast track to back pain for many. Why not try a standing desk, or even a treadmill desk?!
Consider things like lighting, too – some people work best with lower lighting and some need the brightness of overhead strip lights to stay focused. Desk lamps are relatively inexpensive and can make a noticeable difference to the office environment.
Long meetings are the ultimate boredom inducer. According to a study by Atlassian, the average employee attends 62 meetings per month, 50% of which they consider completely unnecessary. During that time, 91% of those surveyed daydreamed and 73% did other work rather than concentrating on the meeting at hand.
The next time you schedule a meeting in the diary, ask yourself: is this really necessary? Chances are that you could have exactly the same conversation while grabbing a coffee with the relevant team member. Walking meetings are also a great way to encourage increased creativity and productivity – it’s amazing what some fresh air and time away from your desk can do to change up your mindset.
In order to keep staff engaged, it’s vital to celebrate all that they achieve, whether that’s scoring a big new client or simply updating company training documents. When your team feel appreciated for their hard work, this encourages them to keep hitting targets and surpassing your expectations.
It’s important, too, to consider the way that you reward staff and recognise that different team members might appreciate different things. For example, your head of sales might love that boozy lunch in a fancy city restaurant, but your content team may much prefer the option to work from home for a day or two. By switching up your perks in this way, you’re demonstrating to your team that you understand their values, and rewarding them in a way that they appreciate.
Upskilling your team helps to beat boredom by ensuring that they feel consistently challenged and are able to take on additional responsibilities. Plus, with new methods of learning becoming more easily accessible, there’s never been a better time to send your staff back to school.
Set some time aside each week or month for learning opportunities for your team. This could be a webinar or conference that they attend alone, or an in-house training session for the whole office. Not only will employees struggle less with boredom, they’ll feel empowered to do more and make the most of their brand new capabilities.
According to employment law, workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during a working day of six hours or above, and employers should respect that as a bare minimum. However, according to a study by DeskTime, an app that tracks employee productivity, that’s not the most efficient way to work.
They carried out a study on their most productive workers, and found that highest performing employees worked for 52 minutes and then took a 17 minute break. This 17 minutes was typically spent away from their screens, taking a walk, getting a cup of coffee or doing exercises.
Granted, sticking to such a rigorous time schedule isn’t always possible – you might be stuck in a meeting or in the middle of a task. But it is worth bearing in mind that workers who take regular breaks are significantly more engaged than those that don’t. Encourage your team to take a few minutes break every hour, and to leave their desks when they do so – you’ll find that they’re much more productive when they return.
We all know that social events are vital for fostering a friendly and inclusive company culture, but did you know they can also help to combat office boredom? Employees are much more likely to apply themselves during the day if they know there’s an office pizza party kicking off at 5pm – there’s nothing like some hot melted cheese to keep you motivated, right?
Socials also allow team members to build closer relationships with one another, which in turn can also help with productivity. If one employee is feeling uninspired by a particular task or is struggling with a lack of motivation, but doesn’t want to speak to senior management, having a friendly face in the office can really help.
That way, they’ll have someone to voice their concerns to, who may have struggled with the same issue in the past and may have some simple suggestions for beating the slump.
There are so many benefits to attending trade events, and beating boredom is just one of them. Not only does it help to stay up to date on key news and innovations, it’s a great way to get to know people within your sector who could turn out to be future client partners.
Plus, hearing an industry expert speak passionately about their way of working or new project will inspire you to take some of their drive back to your own desk. Keep an eye on events happening near you – they could be intimate meet-ups or prestigious industry conferences.
There’s nothing like a healthy dose of competition to keep everyone motivated. Workplace challenges are a great way to get your team fired up and foster collaborative working. Divide your employees into teams, then set a goal and time period to achieve it. Make sure you keep everyone updated on progress throughout the challenge, and incentivise them with a desirable reward at the end.
Challenges could be sales-related, such as hitting a monthly revenue target or sending out a certain number of new business outreach emails. Or, you could take it outside the office, and work towards a collective goal such as fundraising a certain amount for a charity, or running a marathon together.
Not only will you find your team more motivated if they have something larger to work towards, but challenges can actually change the way your team works together in the long term, too. You’ll strengthen relationships between team members and encourage a collaborative approach, which will definitely come in handy in future tasks.
If you’re finding that certain team members are particularly struggling with boredom, perhaps they’d be better suited to a different role. As an employer, regular reshuffles are important to ensure that all of your employees are in the best place for the good of both them and the business. If someone is struggling with a serious case of office boredom, this can drive motivation down in the rest of the team and lead to general discontent.
Try booking in an informal chat every couple of months with each employee – this could even be the two of you popping out to grab lunch together. Make it clear that they aren’t in trouble for suffering from office boredom – it happens to the best of us – and instead, let them know that you’re committed to ensuring that they get the most of out of their role. That way, you can both evaluate their current responsibilities and make sure they’re in the best place.
Of course, there is one another way to entertain yourself if you do happen to be bored at work… check out Perkbox’s blog! We’ve got tonnes of tips, tricks and insights for you on all aspects of HR and workplace culture. Find all of our latest posts here.
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