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What is Boreout?:

While burnout is a hot topic linked to long hours and poor work/life balance, boreout, on the other hand, rears its ugly head when we are so bored at work that we find ourselves completing trivial tasks that leave most feeling totally meaningless.  The job becomes pointless and devoid of any value.

THIS THEORY WAS FIRST EXPOUNDED IN 2007 IN DIAGNOSE BOREOUT, A BOOK BY PETER WERDER AND PHILIPPE ROTHLIN, TWO SWISS BUSINESS CONSULTANTS.

Whereas the workaholic suffering from burnout receives all the attention, the employee showing signs of boreout can be misread as laziness.  The phenomenon of boreout, which has been recorded across different industry sectors, can result in health problems for employees. And worryingly for employers can lead to a high staff turnover.

How to Identify Boreout

  • Working in a demoralising, physical environment like a ‘cubicle farm’
  • Feeling under-challenged over a long period of time
  • Crisis of growth & crisis of meaning within your job

This all boils down to chronic boredom at work and combatting the health effects of boreout is not just up to the individual but also employers who must create a culture that makes their employees feel valued.

“BOREOUT IS CHRONIC BOREDOM. THAT SUMS IT UP,” SAYS LOTTA HARJU, AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR AT EM LYON BUSINESS SCHOOL, FRANCE, WHO HAS STUDIED BOREOUT FOR YEARS.

Symptoms of Boreout:

Being severely underworked can leave you feeling dissatisfied, demotivated, and exhausted, with the lack of work taking a psychological toll on your health.  Symptoms may include but are not limited to:

PHYSICAL MENTAL
   
  • Listlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Tinnitus
  • Susceptibility to infection
  • Stomach upset
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Frustration
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Lack of motivation
  • Anxiety
  • Misunderstanding
  • A feeling of uselessness

In summing up the consequences for employees, despite hating their situation, many experiencing boreout feel unable to ask for more challenging tasks or raise the situation with their employers out of embarrassment. 

Beyond just physical symptoms, you may experience a crisis of meaning and a crisis of growth which can reflect on work behavior, which for business can negatively affect client/customer relationships.  The exodus of long-term employees can endanger the business, especially when a qualified team member changes jobs taking their experience with them.

How Do We Prevent Boreout?

Analyse current options

An initial solution is to analyse your unique job situation and look for an answer within the company, taking the initiative to find new tasks or areas for potential growth.

Reinvent your job. How can you add more value to your current employer?  Talk to your manager about further training to help gain a more interesting position or promotion within the company.  Reassess your strengths and weaknesses and think about where you could improve.

Does the company have career paths or career ladders to help employees develop and progress within the company? Employees can be more engaged when they know their employer is concerned about their growth and career progression.  Career development paths may also have a direct impact on career satisfaction, morale, motivation, and productivity.  The culture of the company you are employed by or thinking of moving to is highly important in your career progression and can reflect on whether you will end up stifled in a dead-end job or able to move up the career ladder with advice, support, and encouragement from your employer.

At times, however, these options just aren’t feasible in your current situation, and if that is the case, the time might be right to start the search for a new job.

Maintain and expand your network of business contacts internally & externally.

Join associations relevant to your sector and look for leadership or volunteering opportunities within the community.  All of these can be advantageous for your career and could introduce you to exciting connections or even new job offers.

Something else entirely

Or is there another solution? Iceland, Scotland & New Zealand have all be trialing a 4-day workweek.   Could this be the answer to boreout, freeing up time to find meaning outside of the workplace?

Speak to our team:

Feeling stuck and like you’ve exhausted all options within your current job situation? It starts with a chat.  Drop us an email with your resume, or give us a call, and we can start to find out what your aspirations are and how we can get you there. We’ll work with you to identify suitable opportunities and where needed, refer you to our career partner, Connect by Nova to talk through career action plans, training, and advice to help you with your career and beyond.  

Feel free to reach out to our team today at info@nova.ky

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