The Slice

15 Tips to Keep Your Employees From Getting Bored at Work

September 30, 2022

Ensuring your employees stay productive and motivated is essential to a leadership role in any organization. Sometimes, though, even your strongest team members start to struggle to maintain interest in their work. When you start noticing that your employees seem bored, you'll want to nip it in the bud immediately to ensure you don't start losing some of your best team members. Stick with us to explore fifteen tips to keep your employees from getting bored at work.

Ensuring your employees stay productive and motivated is essential to a leadership role in any organization. Sometimes, though, even your strongest team members start to struggle to maintain interest in their work.

Two of the most common culprits for boredom at work are employees that aren't adequately challenged and teams that are overworked. It's important to try and identify the cause of the lack of engagement so you can solve the problem at its source.

When you start noticing that your employees seem bored, you'll want to nip it in the bud immediately to ensure you don't start losing some of your best team members. Stick with us to explore fifteen tips to keep your employees from getting bored at work.

1. Break Up the Routine

Even if your employees love their jobs, it's easy to start feeling bored when a routine is too structured. You might consider encouraging your team to spice up their workday by incorporating more variety into their schedule. If you manage a remote team, you can schedule relatively frequent, short social breaks for people to help keep things interesting amidst the typical hum of the workday.

2. Automate the Most Mundane Tasks

Maybe your team is bored because mundane, repetitive tasks take up a lot of their time. Your employees may be throwing a ton of hours toward things that could be automated– which both saves them the agony of their boredom while also frees up their time to work on tasks that can't be automated.

If it's been a while since you audited your systems in the workplace, you might find that new technology and apps have been created that could help you automate some of the most boring tasks.

3. Talk to Your Team

If you can sense boredom brewing in your workplace, it's not something you should just hope will go away on its own.

Instead, you'll want to tackle it head-on. Go to the employee (or employees) that you feel are exhibiting the symptoms of boredom and talk to them about it.

You can directly ask them if they're feeling bored in their job and if they don't feel like they're being challenged enough. You can also ask what the organization or team can do to help make them feel more interested in their work.

You might find that your employees know exactly the best action to avoid this outcome. Before you run around trying to make changes to nip boredom in the bud, go to the source and see what information you can find there.

4. Distribute the Most Boring Tasks

If one of your employees seems to be disengaging with their role and mentally checking out, you might consider looking at their workload. Are they being given the bulk of the boring tasks while other employees are given a chance to engage in more interesting work?

If this is the case, you might want to look into spreading some of the most mundane tasks evenly across your team. This ensures that no one feels like they're being given a raw deal and also helps to distribute the weight of important tasks that are not very fun to do.

5. Give Them More Responsibility

One of the common causes of boredom in the workplace is not being challenged enough. You might be familiar with the concept of the flow state developed by positive psychologist Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, which refers to a state of "complete immersion in an activity."

When your employees are able to get into their flow state, it can:

  • Help make their work more enjoyable.

  • Increase happiness and fulfillment.

  • Regulate their emotions.

  • Boost motivation.

  • Increase creativity.

  • Boost skill development.

According to Csikszentmihalyi, one of the important characteristics of experiencing flow is that a task incorporates a person's existing skills while being the right amount of challenging. When something isn't challenging enough, people can get bored. When something is too challenging, people can bounce off or get overwhelmed.

If your team seems bored, they might not have enough responsibility and challenge to really connect with their work and get into the flow.

6. Give Them More Freedom

Another reason your team might be bored is if they feel like they don't have any space to pursue projects that interest them. When they're always just doing what they're told, it's easy to start to disengage and go through the motions.

You might consider giving your employees the chance to pitch a new project that they would be interested in tackling. This can be a great way to increase engagement and rid the workplace of boredom.

7. Invest in Your Work Environment

If your team works in a physical office, there are a lot of things you can do to the space you work in to help reduce the occurrence of employee boredom.

These include:

  • Creating a creative corner: If you have some extra space in your office, consider making a small area where employees can get their creative juices flowing again. You might even turn the walls into a giant idea generator where employees can write random ideas, ask questions, or just generally express themselves creatively.

  • Bring the outdoors in: Even if you don't have a lot of space in your budget for making major design changes to your office, there are still some changes you can make that could show a noticeable difference when it comes to employee boredom. One such change is adding some indoor plants, which are known to help boost productivity, reduce stress, and increase creativity.

  • Build collaborative spaces: There's a good chance that most of your employees are spending a lot of time on their computers as a part of their job. Building open co-working spaces can be a great way to bring people together and encourage a productive working environment while also reducing boredom.

  • Create a space for alone time: It's easy to get burned out in today's business environment. Consider creating a small space where employees can spend some time alone when they are feeling overwhelmed or bored.

  • Dress up the walls: Creating an interesting workspace for all of your employees could help keep boredom to a minimum. Consider installing a gallery wall of interesting artworks to help bring some pizazz to the office.

If you run a remote team, you might not think this is particularly useful to you. However, you can encourage your employees to be thoughtful of their own working environment and offer them tips and tricks for making an optimal space for engagement and productivity. Depending on your budget, you might even consider offering a stipend to help employees bling out their home offices in a way that helps reduce boredom.

8. Build a Positive Culture

Is it possible that your workplace is just a bit, well… boring? Whether you work in an office or manage a distributed team, it's worth considering that your culture could be all work and no play in a way that breeds boredom.

When your employees are happy and immersed in a positive environment, they're much more likely to work hard, be more engaged, be more productive, and have higher morale.

If you're constantly reprimanding people for socializing or otherwise having fun, you'll likely notice the mood of boredom increasing over time. When managing a team, it's important to recognize that time your employees spend having fun together isn't wasted– it's actually a part of what keeps them happy in their current role and not searching job listings on the clock.

9. Set Appealing Long-Term Goals

It can be extremely motivating when employees know that they have a clear target to work toward every day they show up to work. However, keeping an eye on the big picture can be hard when you're tunnel-visioning on one specific task at a time. Make sure you frequently reiterate long-term goals that appeal to your team and maybe even consider tying them to performance-based bonuses.

10. Show Your Appreciation

When you feel like your work goes completely unappreciated, it's easy to get complacent and bored. It's possible that your employees are starting to seem a little uninterested in their tasks because they don't feel like anyone notices the hard work they're putting in. If this is the case, showing a little appreciation in the form of a pizza party, a surprise long weekend, or other rewards can go a long way.

11. Encourage Breaks

Humans can only stay focused on one task for too long before their eyes start to glaze over. There are a ton of benefits to encouraging your employees to take regular short breaks and not deprive themselves of their lunch break.

These benefits include:

  • Improving their mental health and well-being.

  • Increasing productivity.

  • Increasing job satisfaction.

  • Promoting healthy habits.

  • Helping employees feel more valued by the organization.

  • Increasing creativity.

  • Helping reduce decision fatigue.

  • Restoring attention and focus.

  • Movement breaks are beneficial to both physical and emotional health.

If you manage a team of workaholics, you might even consider offering incentives for employees to take breaks. You'll also want to set a good example by practicing what you preach and taking breaks yourself.

Though it seems like employees taking breaks whenever they want might reduce productivity, this isn't really the case in the long run. When people don't step away from their work and recharge every once in a while, they are much more likely to experience higher stress levels and burnout. When this occurs, it can mean your employees need much longer to recover and return to full productivity than the sum of their shorter breaks.

12. Offer Development Opportunities

When an employee feels like they're on a dead-end career path, they aren't likely to show up every morning with energy to burn. Ideally, the strongest team members you currently have on board will be with your organization for many years to come, and one way you can weed out boredom and increase retention is by offering development opportunities.

The 2021 Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn found that 70% of managers agree that employees that spend more time learning have much higher satisfaction scores. Development opportunities are also linked to increased morale, higher retention, lower absenteeism, and increased productivity. 

13. Find the Workload Sweet Spot

Boredom at work can result from having too much work and not enough work to do. It's kind of a Goldilocks situation– the ideal workload is not too heavy, not too light, but just right.

Consider auditing how much work each team member is tasked with and whether some tweaking is in order.

14. Offer More Flexibility

One of the best ways to reduce boredom at work is to allow your team to have a more flexible schedule. This might mean allowing your team to work from home a few days a week if you still operate in-office or letting your team take Fridays off. Additionally, you might consider offering flexible work day schedules, where some employees might choose to work 7-4 while others choose to work 9-6.

15. Create Friendly Competition

Another simple way to keep your employees from getting bored at work is to encourage friendly competition. This can be great for getting through a particularly stressful time or as a pick-me-up when business is slow.

Consider creating challenges that employees can participate in that will help them learn new things, have fun, and regain their enjoyment of their work duties.

Bonus Tip: Make Sure You Aren't Mistaking Hanger For Boredom

Keeping morale, motivation, and productivity high in the workplace can be challenging. If you notice boredom starting to rear its ugly head among your team, the first step is to identify the source of the problem.

Talking to your employees that seem to be disengaging can help give you the information you need to create positive change.

However, there's one important cause of boredom we didn't discuss in this article– and that's the fact that your employees might be bored because they're eating the same old microwaved burritos all the time. If that's the case, you might find that a pizza party for your remote team is precisely what the doctor ordered.

When you let us organize a pizza party for you, you don't have to worry about calling pizzerias around the globe and scheduling deliveries to each employee in varying time zones and languages. If you want to bring everyone together for some social time and good food despite the distance between you, you can start your order today.

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