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What do employees do when bored? Find out...

Last updated on: January 16, 2012 17:41 IST

What do employees do when they are bored? Find out...

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Are you bored at work? Then, you may probably be thinking about some chocolates or a hot cup of coffee, or even be planning to hit a bar after leaving office, researchers say.

A team from the University of Central Lancashire, which looked at over 100 office workers in the United Kingdom, found that when bored at work, most of them looked to munchies and caffeinated beverages to perk them up.

Bored workers are also more likely to hit a bar once they punch the clock, the researchers said.

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Image: Bored workers are also more likely to hit the bar.


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"We found that it's a mix between the demands of the job and the person's personality that contributes to if you are going to be bored or not," lead researcher Sandi Mann was quoted as saying by LiveScience.

The researchers, who presented their study at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society's Division of Occupational Psychology, made the participants to complete questionnaires about their working habits.

The questionnaire also asked them to rate the level of boredom on a 5-point scale from "never bored" to "bored most of the time" at their current job.

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Image: Employees were asked to rate the level of boredom.


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About 25 per cent of the participants indicated that they were bored most of the time, the researchers said. And those suffered from chronic boredom at work suffered more stress, remained more absent and developed a desire to quit the job.

The chronically bored may also turn to risk-taking in the office to stimulate themselves, the researchers said.

"At work people vandalise, steal and sabotage because they are bored and looking for extra stimulation," Mann said.

Boredom also affects work quality. Almost 80 per cent of respondents felt that being bored at work makes them lose concentration, and more than 50 per cent felt it led them to make mistakes, found the team.

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Image: Chronically bored may also turn to risk-taking.

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Almost half of the respondents also felt that workplace boredom might lead them to leave their current job, a number that jumps to nearly 80 per cent when looking at the bored group on its own, the researchers said.

"The most significant cause of office boredom is an undemanding workload," Mann said. Other sources included uninteresting work and repetitive tasks.

"Managers should look at ways of reducing sources of workplace boredom and at encouraging healthier ways of coping," she said.

Many of the respondents also noted that they were more likely to drink after a boring day at work, Mann said: "About a third turn to alcohol at the end of a boring day, which is pretty high.

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Image: Many turn to alcohol after a boring day.

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"We don't know how much or if it's excessive. It's just they would be more likely to drink at the end of a boring day than at the end of a non-boring day," she said.

While once in a while a chocolate can be a good thing, frequent snacking during long and boring workdays could cause office-related health problems like obesity.

To avoid this, Mann said that employers should take steps in reducing workers' boredom and encourage healthy eating.


Image: Employers should take steps to reduce workers' boredom.

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