10 Signs Your Employees are Bored and How to Change It

When checking in with a friend recently, they confided in me that they are “professionally bored”. At first, I thought that this was an unfortunate situation, especially because they have only been in this new role for six months and would likely be looking for something new in no time to satisfy their need for a greater challenge. Then I wondered what my friend was doing about the situation to resolve it and improve it with their current employer. Finally, I questioned if my friend’s boss, or managers in general knew how to identify a bored employee. Other than a bad boss, professional boredom is the top reason employees exit the workplace.

Here are 10 signs that your employees are bored:

  1. Changes in routine. Arriving late to work or departing early from work is more common now than before. Lack of urgency to complete projects or goals on time. Not putting as much detail into work. Taking frequent sick days. These are all signs of professional boredom if the employee does not have a history of performing in this manner.

  2. Negativity. Bored employees can become increasingly negative or snarky.

  3. Time Killers. Employees that are constantly looking at the clock or increasingly spending their time surfing the net and social media are bored.

  4. Socializing. Employees that wake up and look forward to socializing with their co-workers more than the work they need to get done may be showing signs of boredom. If you notice an increase in socializing, you may have a bored employee.

  5. Green Grass. Comments from employees that things must be better at other companies or the “grass is greener on the other side” syndrome is a significant sign of bored employees.

  6. Resentment. Employees that are lacking challenge may begin resenting other employees that are doing well and receiving accolades. This resentment also feeds the overall negativity about the job and the company.

  7. Bare bones. Rushing through projects or only doing enough work to get by is a sign that skills are being underutilized.

  8. Monday/Friday. If your employee shares that they are depressed about coming to work the Sunday evening prior to work or if they are frequently calling in on Mondays or Fridays, you could have a boredom problem.

  9. 9 to 5 Paycheck Collector. Able employees that lack participation with the team during business hours and for events outside the office are also showing their lack of interest.

  10. Lacks Concentration. A really interested and focused employee would not be sidetracked by co-worker voices or conversations and does not need a coffee break every 45 minutes. If your employee lack the ability to focus, they could be professionally bored.

If you have employees that are showing the signs of boredom or are losing interest in their work, there are many things you can do to try and remedy the situation for the better:

  1. Ask the employee if they are professionally bored. So many fail to do this simple thing. By asking, you will get an honest response and have the opportunity to learn more about what interests the employee has that can benefit the company.

  2. Delegate tasks that are outside of the employee's “normal” activities or responsibilities. Sometimes it only takes an active approach to stretch the employee’s mind or skillset to get them going again. Think of projects that are important to you and touch on some of the skills the employees possesses or an area of interest within the workplace that the employee has.

  3. Create spur of the moment situations. Randomly request the employee’s attention to discuss important matters or their opinion on a problem you are working on.

  4. Discover the employee’s goals. Do you know what your employee dreams of doing while at work? Ask and you will find out. If you have a customer service rep interested in marketing or a quality associate interested in human resources, work with them to create a plan to help them get there in three to five years or encourage and support them in their dream.

  5. Don’t participate in negativity. You do not have to answer every whine or snarky comment and employee makes, but you do need to address negative behavior quickly. Communicate your expectations of positive behavior in the workplace.


April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.

Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.

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