Overcoming workplace boredom: Steps to take if you're bored at work

Workplace boredom is no friend to productivity. If your job involves mundane, repetitive tasks or you just don't feel stimulated at work, it's important to recognise this and take some actions to stave off workplace boredom before it becomes chronic. 

While most jobs will have less exciting moments, boredom should not be permanent feature of your career. While you might not feel particularly passionate about your day-to-day duties, they should at least feel engaging enough to get you through the day without it becoming a drag. 

Why does workplace boredom set in? 

There are many reasons why people feel bored at work, and it's not always about the job itself. 

Some possible causes of workplace boredom include: 

  • Drab office interiors and uninspiring surroundings 
  • A lack of personal growth or variety 
  • Excessive tiredness and lack of breaks 
  • Too much time spent idle 
  • A lack of long-term goals 

Ironically, workplace boredom can arise due to a lack of work. If you are a motivated and productive person trapped in a role with little to do, you may well find yourself yawning as you wait for the phone to ring or an email to drop into your inbox. 

Quick fixes for workplace boredom 

If you only occasionally feel bored at work, then you might consider yourself lucky, but it's still good to take steps to cure workplace boredom in the short term. 

Some quick fixes for workplace boredom include: 

  • Varying your tasks and adapt your to do list to avoid mind-numbing repetition 
  • Taking a break, even for a few minutes, to get some fresh air and daylight 
  • Taking advantage of quieter times to innovate and come up with new projects and ideas you can get excited about
  • Decorating your desk with inspiring images to boost your mental health
  • Chatting to colleagues for some social interaction 
  • Sticking to your scheduled working hours to strike a better work life balance

By keeping to your contracted hours and avoiding unnecessary overtime, you can leave yourself some personal time to enjoy activities outside of the workplace, which in turn can stimulate your body and mind to help you resist the lure of workplace boredom throughout the week. 

Taking the longer road 

Do you think your role could be more engaging if the circumstances surrounding it were different? Or is your workplace boredom a chronic condition that you don't think will ever go away?  If you can't seem to find a quick solution to feeling bored at work, then you should try to consider your long-term prospects.

Planning new projects  

Many jobs are project-based, in which case your boredom could be a symptom of the current project. If this is the case, speak to your manager and ask - politely - if you could be assigned to different projects in future.
Even if it's not possible to spend 100% of your time on your passions, a good manager will find a way to make at least some of your working hours more interesting, if they have the means to do so. 

Looking for promotions 

If your current role feels stale, unrewarding, or like there's not enough to do, look for promotion opportunities within your organisation. The lack of challenge in your job could be a sign that you are too experienced for your duties - and you could possibly be earning more in a role that you find more interesting. 

Career breaks and changes 

The old adage that a change is as good as a break is often true in careers, but you actually have both options at your disposal. Speak to your manager about whether or not you could take a sabbatical or some annual leave to give your mind a break from the day job until you feel invigorated again.

A change of career could obviously help to cure workplace-specific boredom, but make sure you don't just move into an equally unsatisfying role elsewhere. 

Know what will work for you 

As you consider the long-term options of what to do when bored at work, remember everyone is different - a different person might find different solutions to workplace boredom. 

So, it's important to develop a personal plan that you feel confident will work for you, yourself. 

A few of the options include: 

  • Applying for promotions and sabbaticals as mentioned above 
  • Travelling (potentially while working flexibly from other locations) 
  • Retraining (to upskill in your current role or move into a new one) 
  • Socialising (either in work or in your own time to stimulate your mind) 
  • Picking up a new hobby or pastime to add more variety to your life 

It's entirely your own decision whether you attempt a single solution to workplace boredom, or some combination of these and other ideas. You might want to start with a single at-work solution, such as brightening up your immediate environment, and one at-home solution like learning a new craft or hobby. 

Stick at it 

The drudgery of feeling bored at work can make it seem like there is no solution, but over time some simple steps like those mentioned above can make a world of difference and get your brain ticking in a higher gear again. 

If your first solutions don't succeed, don't give up hope. Whether it's a career change or something as simple as signing up to cookery classes or guitar lessons, eventually you will find the side project you need to put the passion back into your daily life. 

What to do when bored at work  

Most important of all, try to recognise when you feel bored at work. It's easy to dismiss workplace boredom as inevitable, or to confuse it with other symptoms like a lack of sleep or skipping your morning coffee. 

Workplace boredom is an issue in its own right, and by recognising this, you can tackle it head-on to improve your working conditions. In extreme cases, this could turn into a long-term task as you look to bring some variety into your duties or add more interest to your work environment. 

If you have a sympathetic line manager, you could ask for advice. They may be able to offer practical assistance by assigning you to a project you find more compelling or giving you 'extracurricular' duties ranging from first aid to fire marshalling, all of which can help to make your day feel more engaging. 

What next?

If you're continually finding you're bored at work, you have a lack of concentration and very little desire to strive toward career development then that might be a sign that it's time to switch up your career and start to look for a new job.

That's where Michael Page comes in. We have over 10,000 live jobs currently on our site, so start your job search with us today and get one step closer to landing your dream job. 

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