Here’s the case: no matter how much your employees claim to love their job, they are bound to experience some boredom at work. Be it due to the mundane routine or lack of recreational activities they barely get due to the pandemic, it makes sense if employees feel tired and bored at one point. Although boredom comes and goes, letting this issue unresolved can actually lead to employees being uncomfortable at work, hence negatively affecting the employee retention. So, how can HR managers address the boredom issue effectively?
Bored employees tend to slack-off activities at work. Browsing online marketplaces with no urgency to buy anything, scrolling through social media like Twitter or Instagram, and watching random videos on Youtube are some common ways employees spend time from their desk. While these activities might shoo away boredom, employers should consider devising strategies to keep employees engaged throughout the day with fun and meaningful activities.
Severe boredom that occurs for a long time can obviously result in decreased productivity. Urgent tasks and duties might be left unattended and the daily targets unaccomplished, thus leading to slow business operation. Oftentimes, boredom also makes employees feel exhausted to finish tasks on hand, experience productivity burnout to rush in the delayed assignments and complete the tasks on time. These are surely HR’s nightmares!
To prevent the snowball effect of this issue, HR leaders need to come up with creative strategies that discourage work monotony. Here are some ways to conquer boredom at work:
Curiosity is an effective way to attract employees’ attention and convert boredom into a challenging opportunity. Encouraging employee’s curiosity will help them feel re-energized and escape from the boredom that causes productivity drain. Although there is no way to tell at what time employees feel the most bored, a few hours before going home is usually where it happens. You can make employees stay awake by getting them to go on a scavenger hunt. This is a mini game that can be done everyday, where they need to collect hidden coupons that can be redeemed with an FnB voucher. So, how does this work?
Every day, there is a coupon hidden in one particular place in the office and it is a challenge for the employees to find it. The clue of where the coupon is located will be sent out from Monday to Friday at 2 PM, the specific hour where employees usually feel the most bored. There will only be one coupon to find every day. It is a challenge for employees to race against one another to be the first in cracking the clue and collecting the coupon. One employee with the most coupons collected every week can exchange them with an FnB voucher rewarded by the HR department. This way, the usual ‘boring hour’ at the office can turn into a time where they ‘fight’ for rewards, because everybody loves free fancy food!
When a room is too silent, it seems easier to get everyone feeling bored and sleepy. So, how about making some not-noisy noise through music? A speaker that plays some music in the background will light up the office environment with positive energy and spirit. While everyone may have their own PC or laptop and can play their own favorite music, a central speaker playing music could have a different impact on employees to perk up their moods and focus better on work.
To make things more fun, you can make use of Spotify’s Collaborative Playlist. With a collaborative playlist, you just need to share the link to all of your employees and let them add music they like to the playlist. It will be a lot like the good-old-days where you request a song through a radio station, but this time, you need neither a radio nor an announcer. Simply set up a PC or laptop that is connected to the central speaker and let the playlist play on shuffle. This can also be fun, since everyone must have had different music preferences. It would be really funny to listen to a Frank Sinatra song then A$AP Rocky’s next, thanks to the shuffle playlist that contains everyone’s diverse music taste!
Sitting inside a cubicle or staring at the laptop screen all day long can easily spark boredom, so what about going out? This does not mean to allow your employees to stroll around outside freely during working hours. Instead, you can set up a leisure room which only has one rule: stress-free! The room does not have to be too big, but it surely needs to be comfortable enough to escape to when work gets boring. Some beanbags and a smart TV to watch Netflix shows or plug PlayStation to will be fine. Providing the team with some new tech to play with, will be beneficial for their job roles, especially those that are related to software and game developers.
If you can afford a more spacious room with more facilities to add, a billiard table or ping-pong table will be a really nice addition too!
However, HR managers should set some clear and assertive rules for employees to benefit from the leisure room. For example, an employee needs to report how their task has been progressing before getting the access key to enter the leisure room. This is a good way to maintain work-life balance, so employees get to have fun a bit as they have been working quite hard that day. Playing video games during break times and after working hours can be great ways for employees to feel refreshed, stay away from boredom at work and maintain consistent productivity levels.
Light sports and relaxation allow employees to steal some time of their busy schedule for a snappy yoga session or some physical exercise. Physical and mental rejuvenation therapies such as yoga, ping-pong games, and billiards should help employees feel more positive at work.
HR managers can allocate some budget to facilitate employee wellbeing by providing necessary tools and means for mental and physical relaxation after work hours. Conquering boredom at work and facilitating employees with recreational alternatives could seem to be an expensive investment proposition for companies at onset. However, the returns the business could derive in the form of increased motivation and enhanced productivity will make up for the efforts invested.
Prior to implementing these solutions to conquer boredom, business leaders should first discuss with the employees about things that grab their attention and then design the necessary arrangements to suit employees’ preferences. After all, it is never a waste to invest in making employees always enthusiastic to work for your company!
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