Boreout could be as detrimental to your career as burnout

  • As we reach the end of the year, Advaita Naidoo, Africa MD at Jack Hammer, says boreout is something that needs to be tackled by companies.
  • While it is not as widespread as burnout, boreout can lead to disengaged employees, low company morale, and lost productivity.
  • As performance reviews take place at this time of year, and effective strategy is assessing how an employee can be more engaged moving forward.

Ask most people who have worked in 2023 and they will likely tell you that it has been a particularly tough year. As such, the mental health side of work has gotten more attention than ever before, as employees and employers alike look to avoid the negative effects that come with burnout.

While time away to decompress is often a good solution when it comes to burnout, what about boreout?

For those unfamiliar with the term, it is characterised by low motivation, low challenge, and low interest that can result from a number of factors including having too little to do, too much routine, too little autonomy at work or simply having become too comfortable with the daily work at hand.

“While it is not as serious as burnout, boreout also has a significant negative impact on quality of life and career prospects,” notes executive search specialists Jack Hammer in a release shared with Hypertext.

“Boreout can lead to reduced productivity, performance, and satisfaction at work, and will most likely affect your happiness, wellbeing, and fulfilment in life, leading to feelings of dissatisfaction, frustration and despondency,” adds Advaita Naidoo, the company’s Africa MD.

According to the MD, boreout is not inevitable or irreversible, and there are several ways in which employers and employees can course-correct to identify a more fulfilling career path.

“Boreout happens when you are not optimally using your skills, talents and passions at work. Thankfully, recognising that your lack of engagement at work could be a result of you not living up to your full potential, and is not necessarily a result of other, more challenging problems, is the first step to embarking on a new path towards success,” she continues.

One of the first ways to address this growing issue is during performance reviews, many of which happen at organisations during this time of year. Here Naidoo notes that performance reviews are typically retrospective and focus on performance improvement rather than placing emphasis on how an employee might want to be more engaged in the new year.

“Boreout might sound like a frivolous problem, but it is far from it, and employers should take note. It can lead to lost productivity costs, as bored employees tend to work slower, make more mistakes, or waste time on irrelevant activities. It can also lead to employee turnover, as disengaged employees tend to feel dissatisfied, unhappy, or unmotivated at work, and may look for other jobs that offer more challenge, variety, or meaning. Additionally, boreout can affect the morale, culture, and reputation of the organisation,” warns Naidoo.

“For burnout, the remedy is to reduce work. For boreout, it is to actively look for ways to ignite your mental flame again, and move towards something new. Even small changes can be energising. To overcome boreout, individuals need to identify new challenges, and leaders can assist in this regard,” she advises.

With quiet quitting finding its way into the zeitgeist on the back of the pandemic, boreout is now another element that employers will need to focus on in order to keep employees engaged and ensure productivity remains high amid tough economic conditions.

[Image – Provided]


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