Study: Bored Office Workers Risk Increased Health Problems
As many office workers know, battling boredom on the job can be an everyday challenge. But few may know that routinely feeling listless on the job threatens their well-being by causing them to seek solace in food and drink, new research shows.
The very act of being bored can lead to health problems, according to a study by Sandi Mann, of the University of Central Lancashire in England. Employees who complain of "chronic boredom" are more likely to consume more chocolate and coffee and have a drink containing alcohol at the end of the day.
Eighty percent of the 100 office workers surveyed by Mann said that boredom caused them to lose concentration, and half believed it led to mistakes, London's Daily Mirror reports.
"My analysis suggests that the most significant cause of office boredom is an undemanding workload, so managers should look at ways of reducing sources of workplace boredom and encourage better ways of coping," says Mann, an occupational psychologist.
Among the solutions, Mann suggests having workers rotate jobs and deal with boredom in healthy ways, including offering seminars and nutritious choices in workplace cafeterias.
U.S. researcher Paul Spector says that boredom is little recognized as a source of workplace stress, along with a number of other factors that contribute to strain. Such sources of stress can leave workers feeling just as they would if they were overworked or overwhelmed, he tells ABC News.
"Being chronically bored means being unhappy and stressed," says Spector, a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, in Tampa. "If you don't have enough to do or what you do is monotonous, that can make you miserable, which can be very stressful."
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David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.
Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.
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