When you walk quietly among the cubicles of your workplace, you can’t help but notice a high prevalence of screens displaying distinctly non-work related content. Every shoulder you glance over seems to partially obscure a set of solitaire cards or the signature blue outline of a Facebook feed. What’s going on? Are these quiet diversions having an impact on your overall productivity? And most important, should you be alarmed by this trend?
The Price of Boredom
Volumes of HR studies have been conducted to measure the impact of idle time on employee motivation and output, and while they vary by circumstance, the majority of these studies suggest a clear answer: Yes, you should be alarmed. And it’s a good idea to take action before your bottom line begins to suffer. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind as you confront a boredom epidemic among your employees.
- Why do your employees have so much free time? Is this a result of the cyclical nature of your industry, or is your office overstaffed? If your employees face a natural rhythm of high and low work cycles, learn to anticipate the arrival of the lows and be ready with new projects. But if your employees simply don’t have enough to do because there are too many of them, arrange a meeting with upper management to find out how your workforce can be more efficiently structured and deployed.
- Boredom isn’t successfully eliminated with the introduction of busy work and the illusion of activity. If your employees are genuinely bored, don’t invent meaningless work for them to do. This will only make the problem worse and it may breed additional resentment. Instead, meet with specific employees who you believe are not being given opportunities to maximize their potential and encourage them to help you arrive at a mutually beneficial solution.
- Find ways to include employees in company decision making processes. Greater investment in company success and an increased feeling of control can do wonders for motivation and engagement.
- Consider flexible scheduling. If your employees are wildly busy at the hours of ten and four, but staring at a wall between one and three, why force them to stay in the office during this time? Digital technology and communication devices are making it possible to take work and connectivity anywhere. Take advantage of these resources. Don’t be bound by traditional nine to five hours if they aren’t helping your company.
For additional ways to keep your team members motivated and on track, contact the Santa Clara staffing and HR pros at Josephine’s. We can help both you and your employees cut wasted time and make the most of your professional relationship.