Bored Employees Are More Disgruntled Than Overworked Ones

Bored employees have an even greater negative impact on an organization, lowering morale and productivity, and draining resources.

Businesses may realize far more negative consequences from bored employees than from those who report having "too much work," according to research by Sirota Survey Intelligence, specialists in attitude research. Employees who are bored (reporting "too little work") are often doing work for which they are ill-suited, or have jobs that are poorly designed. As a result, they have by far lower job satisfaction, sense of accomplishment, and pride in their employers compared to all other workers, according to the survey of over 1 million employees.

"Feeling overworked -- a condition that could lead to job burnout -- is far more prevalent than feeling bored -- yet both have harmful effects on employees and their companies. Interestingly, being bored has far more serious consequences for an organization than being overworked," said Douglas Klein, president of Sirota Survey Intelligence.

Employees' perceptions of being overworked spike during their second through fifth years with an employer. 27% of employees with two to five years experience with an employer report being overworked. In general, more employees report feeling overworked (22%) than those who say they are bored (14%).

Findings of the survey incldue:

  • Adequate support from co-workers: 59% of employees who have "about the right amount of work" feel they receive sufficient support from colleagues, compared to just 35% of those with "too much work"
  • Quality suffers: 59% of employees who have "about the right amount of work" feel quality is unaffected by their workload, compared to just 25% of those with "too much work"
  • Job stress: 32% of employees with "about the right amount of work" are favorable about their level of job stress and tension, compared with just 14% of those with "too much work"
  • Job pressures interfere with personal life: 49% of employees with "about the right amount of work" are positive about their work-life balance, compared to just 28% of those with "too much work"

"The complaints of both overworked and bored employees should be taken seriously," Klein cautioned. "Complaints about being overworked can be an indication of poor quality or work processes, and it can be difficult in certain circumstances to retain employees who feel they are overworked and out of balance with their work life. But bored employees have an even greater negative impact on an organization, lowering morale and productivity, and draining resources."

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