The BoredOut phenomenon - employees bored to death

Have you ever been bored at work? Being bored at work can often be more damaging than working yourself to exhaustion. Find out what the BoredOut phenomenon is and what we need to understand about it.

More and more people are suffering from work-related mental health problems. Stress, anxiety, depression and burnout are increasingly common, caused mainly by the sheer volume of digital information our brains can no longer cope with processing, but also by isolation, lack of deep human connections, huge workloads, the demands of control-obsessed bosses and cumbersome procedures.

Beyond BurnOut, however, a new phenomenon is gaining momentum around the world, taking up more and more space in the content people share on social media: Boredom at work seems to affect millions of people. It may seem paradoxical, but the hashtag #boredout (which translates as #boreddout) had about 470 million views on TikTok in the past few days, in a world where most people feel stressed and overworked and communicate using the hashtag #BurnedOut.

We seem to be living in a world of work split into two worrying trends, neither healthy. Either we're stretched to the max with endless and often meaningless tasks and battling overly overworked and demanding bosses, or we're not working and we're sitting bored in our office chairs thinking how devoid of real professional challenges we are.

We must understand, however, that the new "BoredOut" phenomenon is not proof that people don't actually have anything to work with, but a disarming illustration that work is not adapted to their capabilities. If exhaustion is characterised by over-stimulation, today's boredom is characterised by under-stimulation.

Those who find themselves in this situation are generally young people with the potential to do more, whom managers lock into roles with limited remits, lacking creativity or a professional contribution relevant to their expertise, intelligence and interests.

Boredom at work can seem like an innocent, even desirable phenomenon devoid of toxicity. But this is not the case, quite the contrary. University of Texas management professor Andrew Brodsky says that boredom at work can be as damaging as burnout

We need to be concerned about this phenomenon and treat it very seriously, because employees who are demotivated by their work and their role end up developing negative feelings about their work and an unhealthy relationship with work, which can lead to mental health problems as serious as those caused by overwork. In addition, the negative manifestations of these employees can damage the organisation's reputation, customer satisfaction and, in the long term, compromise the future of that employer.

It seems obvious to me that the BoredOut phenomenon is a consequence of poor management. When you get bored because you don't find meaning, initiative and autonomy in your work, you don't understand what the company's goals are and how you define success, it's more than clear that your boss isn't doing his job, maybe because he doesn't really understand what he's doing there and why he's getting paid.

This article is brought to you by Blankfactor, a global leader in digital innovation for fintechs and payment processors. An American company with a global presence, Blankfactor is building a strong software engineering team in Romania, with offices in Bucharest, Cluj and Brasov and collaborating with top professionals across the country.

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