Boredom is work's new stress

19:28, May 06 2012

Are you at work right now? Are you bored? Bored, but also stressed, in a 'man, I know I've got x y and z to do, but it's all so BORING, I can't be bothered, so I'll just feel guilty and bad about myself' kinda way? So bored that you're tempted to stand in the middle of the office and make like that girl in the drinking ads? "BORING, BORING, you're all BORING".

I hear you. That sort of boredom is why I begged to be allowed to give blogging a go - it's stressful doing nothing, or doing something you already know how to do, over and over again. (Hopefully this has paid off for you, as well as for me - I would love to hear what you think of my efforts so far, and what you'd like in future...)

Sunday magazine's former editor Rose Hoare is in the UK not being at all bored, and she's done a fascinating story for CNN about the links between workplace boredom and stress. Boredom is "the new stress", apparently, and workplaces are more boring than they used to be. At the same time we're less tolerant of being bored. But employers aren't really addressing the problem, because they're "terrified" of fessing up that their busy worker bees might not be that into it.

Interesting, no? But I bet it's a tricky problem for employers to fix. Tell your staff to work harder and you'll be accused of slavedriving. Give them some sort of unusual task to alleviate the boredom, and as soon as the novelty wears off that'll be boring, too. What's left? Organise one of those awful team-bonding days, where you eat tiny savouries and wear nametags?

I've been sitting here trying to imagine what my perfect, non-boring day at work would be, and actually it's more to do with me than my employer. I think it's just getting stuff done. Ticking boxes. Doing interviews, slogging through the transcribing, and making it to the fun part - writing. Going home at the end of the day, feeling like I've achieved something and not just spent an entire day Googling in circles. Oh, and actually taking my lunch break, to read a book maybe, or call a friend.

What about you? What's your idea of a non-boring day at work? What could your boss do to make it less boring? And does being bored stress you out, or is it just, you know, boring?


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