No one is immune to boredom (even the word makes me feel tired).
So it will come as no surprise to know that boredom is a major killer of engagement at work with our main offender being repetition. That is, tasks that are monotonous with no sense of accomplishment.
Our brain simply does not like repetition when we are not progressing and making gains.
When we are not giving our brains any activity to stimulate the ‘reward centre’ it will become distracted in order to search for new experiences.
So, what can you do when the much of the job requires a lot of repetition and you want your employees to be happy and satisfied?
Here are 4 keys to combat boredom and repetition at work:
No matter what the job is, we need to be able to understand the big picture. How is the end user benefiting from the product or service we are helping to produce?
Employees need to connect to what they do every day and derive meaning from what they are doing.
Every job exists to address a ‘human’ problem or need. If we frame that in our minds to know that what we are doing is helping someone it then helps us to see our work differently.
Better yet, if you can actually talk to the customer or client that has benefited from what you do it increases your sense of purpose significantly.
We are multifaceted human beings and our talents and interests go beyond the core job.
Therefore, it would make great business sense to allow employees to put their talents to good use by working on a project of their choice and interest.
Employees should be encouraged to voice their ideas for different parts on the business and allow time to actually work on a project of their choice. It does not need to take up a lot of time, but the ROI can be outstanding (just ask Google, 3M & Intuit).
I realise it can be tactically difficult, but there are lots of ways to approach this which I will cover in a later blog dedicated to ‘passion projects’.
With rigorous research into its benefits, we cannot dismiss the power of gratitude in the workplace, especially when it is very easy to implement and with little cost.
Robert A Emmons is a leader in positive psychology, primarily focusing on the psychology of gratitude. His main study has been going for over a decade, with over 1000 people, ages 8-80.
Simply writing 3-5 things down that you are grateful for everyday has many positive benefits to combat boredom.
These are just a few of the findings from the study:
Increased positive emotions such as more optimism, alertness, energy and enthusiasm.
Exercise more, sleep better, take better care of themselves.
Strengthens relationships, more helpful, altruistic and compassionate.
Our bodies are guided by rhythms.
Based on the work by Tony Schwartz & Jim Loehr who maintain we perform at our best when we move between expending energy and intermittently renewing energy.
“Performance, health and happiness are grounded in the skillful management of energy. The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not. It is our most precious resource. The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become.”
As our energy resources are not endless, we need to either fully engage or strategically disengage throughout the day in order to do our most engaged and focussed work.
Repetitive work can be inevitable and as clever humans our brains seek out new experiences to activate our ‘reward centre’ and if that does not happen we disengage.
To help with this we can find meaning in understanding why we do what we do and who we are helping as a result of our efforts.
We can also get involved in a project we are passionate about, practise gratitude and manage our energy better.
Ahhhh…I feel better already.
Get in touch to start your workplace connection journey today.