Joy is Good Business

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Boreout is Like Kryptonite

Boreout, or chronic boredom, results from continuous mental underload at work. Scientists have found that monotonous work can negatively impact mental health, cause major stress, and lead to burnout.
Boredom is kryptonite for high performers and inspiration-seeking team members. In fact, one 2020 study showed that between 43%-53% of the workforce is bored. Boredom stems from tasks that:
  • Are repetitive
  • Are predictable
  • Are too easy
  • Lack meaning
  • Provide little sense of accomplishment
Your brain craves novelty and meaning. These types of experiences experiences pump chemicals, like dopamine, into the brain and trigger feelings of pleasure, satisfaction and motivation. When these types of activities and feelings are reduced, your brain starts to crave it and can become highly distracted in its search for new or purpose-filled moments.
The main culprit for boredom is repeating tasks with little sense of accomplishment or impact. To combat boreout as a leader, you can tie the role or task to the bigger picture and describe its impact on others. You can provide stretch or challenging assignments to help add novelty to work. You can also enable a team member to take on a passion project that may be outside of the day-to-day routine to amp up meaning or purpose.
The key is to stay vigilant. Team members will rarely share with you when they are bored because they don’t want to appear as lazy or uncommitted. So, keep on the lookout for team members who are uninterested or lacking energy in their roles; who no longer seem to be motivated; or who start to retreat into themselves. All could be clues of boreout.

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