How to Respond When Boredom Gets the Upper Hand at the Office

A bit of boredom at the office doesn’t hurt and could even be an opportunity to tackle some chores that appear at the bottom of your to-do list. However, when boredom begins to settle in, it’s a completely different story. It’s important to respond quickly before bore-out strikes you too hard. For, as mentioned by Christian Bourion, work management specialist, in his new book The Bore-Out Syndrome: When Boredom at Work Drives You Crazy, this new disorder can have serious consequences for employees.



Overview of boredom
There’s nothing to worry about when the phone doesn’t ring for a few hours, your desk is clear for a day or there’s radio silence for your emails. However, if have not been assigned any tasks for some time, if there is a nasty discrepancy between the functions you perform and what was promised in the job offer – somewhat enticing – or if you feel “set aside” – unable to be let go – and you find yourself checking your watch every quarter of an hour, if you are lengthening your coffee breaks or browsing the internet with no particular purpose… it’s high time to do something about it. Indeed, it can be a rapid descent – after an initial stage of demotivation, sadness and anxiety will set in and in the longer term a period of breakdown of your personality, which could lead to depression. Aside from the psychological consequences, boredom at work can harm your body. On the one hand, you may have to resort to palliatives that have their own side effects (cigarettes, alcohol) and on the other hand, illness can develop more easily (three times fewer heart attacks among employees with a motivating job). 



To each situation its response
If boredom takes hold in the office in the middle of summer, don’t be alarmed. Take the opportunity to perform tasks that you keep postponing such as organizing your office, managing your inbox, updating documentation, checking out some technology, networking, testing new organization methods… However, if the boredom continues and seems to issue from a higher rank, avoid – gracefully – falling into this “new normal” by accepting this situation. Reflect on your actual professional aspirations, question yourself about your satisfaction and pride in this job, think of preparing strategies to move forward in the organization or avenues for improvement that you could propose to your superiors. Also consider establishing a dialogue with your superiors to express your disappointment in the mismatch between your tasks and your experience and skills.



Bore-out, during burn-out, is a scourge that is far from simple to manage. It is important to be surrounded well to be able to express this malaise to your family, colleagues and superiors by finding the right words without feeling any discomfort or shame at being underemployed while being paid… while unemployment is often the leading concern of developed countries.


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