Boredom in the workplace. It is more common than you might think, even among employees who seem to be outwardly quite busy. What is the explanation for this boredom epidemic?
Business professor Mark de Rond of the University of Cambridge argues that what creates boredom is not lack of activity, but rather lack of meaning. In his recent Harvard Business Review article, De Rond poses an important question as a result: “how do we fix our working lives when we suffer from the boredom of having more than enough to keep us busy all hours of the day, but nothing that gives us meaning?” Simply giving people more to do or giving employees something new to do is not the solution to this management development dilemma.
In order to maintain employee retention in the midst of such existential crises, managers need to help employees find meaning rather than simply piling more mindless tasks into their inboxes.
Management Development for Building Meaning
1. Promote Work-Life Balance
Even the best employees feel burned out from time to time and find little meaning in their work. Even if you can’t change any of their job responsibilities at that time, giving your employees more time and space to spend with their families, develop new skills, or discover new passions is a fruitful way to encourage your employees to find more meaning in their lives, if not in the office.
2. Discover Uncharted Territory
Perhaps one reason that your employees are having trouble finding meaning in their work is that their unique skills and passions are being under-utilized. In order to promote solid management development, consider how to develop these employees rather than to feel frustrated with their current slump. An online personality test could be an excellent way to find untapped resources and allocate new challenges to your employees.
3. Allow More Creativity
If you really want to improve employee retention and keep your employees from simply moving to another position or another company on as a result of unresolved boredom, then you may wish to consider allowing your employees more freedom in choosing their projects and more creativity in how they choose to accomplish their goals. Encouraging innovation in this way is a strong tool for building meaning.