Admit it, you're boring your employees to death
By Jason Ku · 19 August 2016 · 3 minute read
Are you bored at work? Running a team and boring them? Catching Pokémon at your desk while reading this? Chances are you fall into one of these buckets. Recently, BBC shared a story on a man from France is suing his former employer for “bore out” for turning him into a “professional zombie” and is demanding €360,000 (over US $400,000).
“Bore out” is real
While some downtime can be great for catching up on news, training, or overall creativity, too much of it can be damaging. A doctor featured in the BBC story noted that boredom can also lead to other severe consequences such as reduced life expectancy due to bad habits and “seek stimulation from things like unhealthy food, alcohol, drugs, and risk-taking behaviour”.
Where does the boredom start? Reflecting on my own experiences, I’ve found that prior to starting a new job or challenge, I’m always excited. A new office, a new team, a new company culture… it’s easy to get caught up in the newness of things. Down the road, however, all these things can become routine whether it’s a year or even a week later.
I’ve always considered myself to be a quick learner, and that’s been helpful to easily transition onto a team and get started right away, but it also means I’m also anxious to start doing different things, or get bored with what actually needs to be done in my role. Early on, I’ve been told I need to slow down and pay attention more to the details (which I promise I’m doing now!), but it’s no wonder why so many twenty-something year olds are now considered the “job-hopping generation”.
The difference with millennials
Let’s take a look at a recent study from Vision Critical:
- 86% of millennials are very optimistic about their future and want to make a difference.
- Millennials value “work-life balance” (47%) higher than Gen X or Baby Boomers (36%, 39% respectively)
- They like traveling around the world looking for authentic and local experiences. 24% of them prefer staying at Airbnb over other accommodations.
In reality, having work-life balance is just making sure you have a life (outside of work), right? An interesting call-out from Marketwatch on the recent Twitter trend #firstsevenjobs showed that younger Americans have “different #firstsevenjobs” compared to their predecessors:
#firstsevenjobs for millennials— Joe Albanese (@joealby45) August 6, 2016
1. Unpaid intern
6. Paid (!) intern
Does this sound like you or your friends?
While your first seven jobs could’ve helped shape your interests or skills, many millennials have been stuck in school, internships, and desk jobs and are constantly dreaming to get out into the world to try something new.
Is your company engaging you enough?
As we mentioned in our last blog post, employee engagement is becoming increasingly important. How can we keep our best talent engaged and excited about coming in to work? What are the things that they truly care about? Is their idea of fulfilment really going to another annual company banquet, or would they prefer to do team-building off at an eccentric destination? (Shout-out to the ABN team for organizing the next regional event in Uluwatu!)
Engaging your team can mean a better company culture, innovation from within your company, and improved employee health. It’s time for companies to admit that they’re boring their employees and start engaging them to set them up for success. Oh, and food for thought -- being bored doesn’t only impact Millennials; that guy suing his company for boredom is 44 and has been bored for years!