Employers were so busy dealing with burnout, quiet quitting, and other workplace trends, that it seems they missed one: bore out.
Most people are aware of burnout – the state of extreme stress, exhaustion, and overload that can dramatically affect your work personal life, and well-being.
However, burnout, another sub-optimal state prevalent in workplaces across the globe and thankfully much easier to address, is less well-known.
“Boreout is characterized by low motivation, low challenge, and low interest that can result from having too little to do, too much routine, too little autonomy at work or simply becoming too comfortable with the daily work at hand. While it is not as serious as burnout, burnout also has a significant negative effect on the quality of life and career prospects,” Advaita Naidoo, Africa MD at Jack Hammer, an African executive search firm, says.
When you suffer from burnout, it can lead to reduced productivity, performance, and satisfaction at work and it will most likely affect your happiness, well-being, and fulfillment in life, leading to feelings of dissatisfaction, frustration, and despondency, she warns.
“Boreout happens when you are not using your skills, talents, and passions optimally at work. Thankfully, recognizing that your lack of engagement at work could be a result of you not living up to your full potential and is not necessarily a result of other, more challenging problems, is the first step to embarking on a new path towards success.”
Boreout is not inevitable or irreversible
Naidoo points out that burnout is not inevitable or irreversible and there are many ways to course-correct to ensure you have a more fulfilling career path. Managers and leaders can also play an active role to ensure their teams become more engaged.
Many employees go through performance reviews but these reviews are typically retrospective and focus on performance improvement rather than emphasizing how an employee might want to be engaged within the new year.
“Boreout might sound like a frivolous problem, but it is far from it and employers should take note. It can lead to lost productivity costs, as bored employees tend to work slower, make more mistakes, or waste time on irrelevant activities.”
She says it can also lead to higher employee turnover, as disengaged employees tend to feel dissatisfied, unhappy, or unmotivated at work and may look for other jobs that offer more challenges, variety, or meaning.
“Additionally, burnout can affect the morale, culture, and reputation of the organization. At the beginning of a new year, it is a good idea for leaders to assist their teams in formulating a positive vision.”
Boredom at work is not spoken about
People do not often speak about boredom at work, but Naidoo says it sets in for many employees throughout their careers.
“For burnout, the remedy is to reduce work. For boreout, it is to actively look for ways to ignite your mental flame again and move towards something new. Even small changes can be energizing. To overcome burnout, individuals must identify new challenges and leaders can assist with this.”
Naidoo says employees can do this by seeking new opportunities, learning new skills, or taking on more responsibility and asking for ongoing and strategic feedback.
“The first and biggest hurdle for employees who recognize they are in a state of burnout is to get the ball rolling and build up momentum again. Recognizing what is happening and getting out of your safe and comfortable, yet frustrating place by seeking out new opportunities and challenges, is highly likely to set you on a new path to success and fulfillment.”