Healthy at work - Pascal Bandra

Five tips against boredom in the office

There’s nowhere as boring as the office? Then something’s amiss and you need to counter it. Using these simple tips for avoiding boredom in the office will yield an improvement or at least bring variety to the working day, protecting you against the dreaded boreout.

Boredom in the job: what to do?

If you already lack motivation before work and count the hours while you’re there, waiting till you can at last go home, something’s probably amiss. Of course not every job is fulfilling and some monotonous activities aren’t rendered any more exciting by cheerful thoughts either. But if boredom in the office is very pronounced, you should monitor the situation carefully. Because chronic underloading can actually make you ill in the long run and lead to boreout. Boreout is essentially the opposite of burnout, though the symptoms are similar.

But it doesn’t have to get this far if you counter it early. When it comes to boredom in the office, you can do something about it:

1. What is the cause of boredom in the office?

In order to be able to do something effective against boring, everyday office conditions, your first step should be to identify precisely what is causing boredom in the office. Is there simply nothing to do? Is the work just concentrated into certain phases of the month or year? Are the tasks so dull and monotonous that you’re simply totally underloaded? Does your work feel totally without purpose? Or do you perhaps not dare to take on too much and therefore fail to really get in on the action? If you can answer this question precisely, you’re already very close to the solution.

2. Get an overview

To be able to change things, you also need to know precisely what you should do when and what not. Before work begins, write yourself a to-do list and, after work, examine what actually happened that day. What did you actually do? How much time did the tasks require? What made your work easier, what made it harder? What were the highlights and what were the low points of the day? Was boredom in the office an accompanying feeling or did it only arise during specific activities?

3. Make use of free time

If the source of your boredom is that you have too little to do, the inverse is also true: you have lots of time! Think for a moment about whether and how you might use this time productively. Because time can liberate creativity. Consider for example how certain processes might be arranged better, where new challenges await or how your range of activity might be extended to escape boredom in the office. Here it pays off to arrange a discussion with your boss, who is likely to appreciate any suggestions for improvement.

4. Discuss things with your colleagues

What do your colleagues do actually? Are things the same for them or do they seem to enjoy their work? In either case you should maintain contact with your team, because any tendency towards withdrawal as a result of boredom in the office can rapidly lead to isolation, which then reinforces the boredom and dissatisfaction; a vicious circle. Discuss things and maybe you’ll get some new suggestions or can at least bridge wearisome phases. If you don’t have any colleagues directly, look for some – the Internet makes this easier than ever. Discuss things with others stuck in a similar situation.

5. Time for a new challenge

If you can no longer see any prospects at all in your job, you should consider changing your place of work. Here you should ask yourself seriously whether realistic changes in your day-to-day work can resolve the reasons for your boredom in the office. Conduct a thought experiment: What promise do you think change holds for you? Are your assumptions realistic? Don’t rush anything, but rather take some time to analyse the situation. But if you come to the conclusion that boredom in the office is inextricably linked to this particular job and can’t see any internal way around it, you should act. But if you haven’t yet fully decided, you could also take an extended holiday or a career break (something many employers now consider), in order to reflect on further steps whilst being completely free of disturbance. Whichever, when taking such steps, it’s a good idea to get professional advice.

Boredom in the office is an unpleasant condition, but it can be resolved. Sometimes “all” you need is a little initiative, but sometimes also much courage. What are you doing to counter boredom in your job? We look forward to hearing about your experience and suggestions.

Photo credits: (c) iStockphoto.com/Rostislav_Sedlacek


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