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The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Bored at Work

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you have more than enough work to do to keep you personally engaged.  And you’d like to believe your employees are in the same boat—always busy, and never bored at work.

Boredom, however, creeps into almost every workplace, even the most progressive workplaces where employees enjoy flexible work options like telecommuting, flexplace, and compressed work hours.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help your team members stay excited about their jobs, whether they’re in the office or working from home.

Boost Engagement, Reduce Boredom

Here are several specific suggestions to boost engagement and make sure your employees aren’t bored at work:

  1. If you don’t already offer flexibility, start.

By letting people shift their hours, telecommute a day or two each week, or explore other flexible work options, you give them a change of pace and scenery. Even if they’re doing the same work, those differences should rejuvenate them and keep them interested in daily tasks.

  1. Look for opportunities to automate.

If your workers are bogged down in repetitive tasks that are important, but tedious, look for opportunities to spare them the agony. A small up-front investment could pay big dividends in employee motivation and morale.

  1. Game the system.

Try to create games or competitions around more mundane duties. That won’t make the jobs any more fun, but it will add a different type of motivation to help people push through and get them done.

  1. Keep in touch.

This is especially important if you’re trying to keep remote workers engaged. Remember to check in often to see how people are doing and how they feel about their work.

  1. Increase responsibility.

Some people get bored at work because the tasks they have simply aren’t challenging enough. Give people duties that let them stretch to the limits of their abilities, and you’re likely to chase boredom away.

  1. Don’t skimp on training and development.

Show your workers that you want them to grow in their jobs by providing opportunities for training and development. When they believe their managers genuinely care about their careers, workers are likely to be more motivated and engaged, even if they’re facing some boring tasks.

  1. Show your gratitude.

By offering frequent, sincere praise and encouragement, you not only improve their motivation and happiness at work, but you also create an opportunity to make sure they’re feeling engaged and interested.

  1. Take a break and have some fun!

Instead of holing up in your office, make a point of breaking away in the afternoon for a walk around the block, inviting your team members to join you. If a day of drudgery is punctuated by enjoyable breaks, it will help people overcome boredom and stay on target.

The Bible

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 says.

I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.

If your work is repetitive, you’re likely to get bored after a while. The writer of Ecclesiastes describes work as “toil” for this very reason. But he also says that it’s God’s gift to enjoy this toil.

Remember, you feel happier and more engaged as a small business owner when you’re busy with, challenged by, and interested in your work. Your employees are no different, whether they’re sitting in the next cubicle or working from home.

Even though our work is a gift from God, we may need to strategically think of ways we can enjoy our work, or at least, limit how boring it is.