Boredom: What Force at Work?

Within the dynamics of the modern workplace, the myth of consistent, all-day productivity is exactly that: a myth

by Assaf Cohen

The issue of workplace boredom is more pervasive than many might realize. According to Forbes, boredom at work is not just a minor inconvenience; it’s a serious problem that can lead to depression, anxiety, insomnia, and higher employee turnover.

This issue affects a significant portion of the American workforce, with more than a third admitting they have found their job boring for years. Interestingly, a similar proportion of workers even anticipated this boredom when they started their jobs.

Certain sectors report higher levels of anticipated job boredom, with the legal field leading at 45%, followed by technology (41%) and healthcare (36%). A significant 1 in 3 employees admit to being bored several times per day.

Among different age groups, Gen Zers report the highest levels of boredom (38%), surpassing millennials (34%), boomers (33%) and Gen Xers (29%). Moreover, men (36%) tend to feel bored at work more often than women (31%).

Boredom impacts not only mental health but also productivity. On average, Americans are bored for a quarter of their workday. When bored, 62% of employees work slower or engage in unnecessary tasks to pass the time. This behavior is most prevalent among in-office workers (66%) but is also significant among hybrid (60%) and remote workers (59%).

Employees Admit Their Boss Knows about Their Boredom

As points out, boredom is linked to increased counterproductive practices like distraction and absenteeism, which could negatively impact workplace performance and career advancement.

More than 2 in 5 employees admit they avoid notifying their boss about their boredom due to the fear of being assigned more work.

Despite these concerns, a majority of employees (57%) say their bosses are aware of their frequent boredom. However, as long as the work is completed, these bosses seemingly do not intervene. This situation is more commonly reported by in-office employees (61%) compared to their remote (53%) and hybrid (52%) counterparts.

A Third Actually Enjoy Boredom at Work

Contrary to common perceptions about workplace boredom, a significant portion of American workers find a certain level of enjoyment in it. In fact, a third of employees actually enjoy being bored at work, with various reasons contributing to this unexpected preference.

The preference for boredom also varies based on the work environment. Remote employees, at 38%, are more likely to enjoy being bored compared to those in-office (31%) and hybrid (30%). This could be due to the greater flexibility and privacy that remote work offers, allowing employees to use periods of boredom more constructively or relaxingly.

Among different generations, millennials (37%) and Gen Z (36%) report the most enjoyment from workplace boredom, surpassing Gen X (31%) and boomers (13%). This generational difference could reflect varying attitudes toward work and the role it plays in one’s life.

When to Take a Mental Break

Clearly, mental breaks are necessary for maintaining employee happiness. Whether it’s playing a game of online Solitaire or scrolling through Instagram, these activities represent the diverse strategies workers use to calm their minds amidst the monotony of routine workplace tasks.

In recognizing and understanding the nuances of workplace boredom, employers and employees alike can work toward creating a more dynamic and supportive work environment, where brief interludes of personal tasks are viewed not as distractions but as necessary pauses that foster long-term engagement and productivity.

Reasons Americans Are Bored at Work

Americans are bored for a quarter of the average workday.

Reason  % Who Experience 
Lack of motivation 43
The work itself is boring 42
Waiting on others 40
Not enough work 37
Limited social interaction 31
The work is too easy 25
Frequent interruptions 19

Reasons Americans Enjoy Boredom at Work

Reason % Who Experience
It’s less stressful 30
Freedom and control over time 25
Helps work-life balance 23
More time for personal development 16
Good opportunity to socialize 10



Survey was conducted on November 22, 2023, asking 1,002 Americans about the ways they experience boredom at work. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 76 years old, and were 48% female, 50% male and 2% nonbinary.

The survey is from Solitaire Bliss, a free gaming website that hosts a collection of popular card games, including Solitaire, Klondike, Spider Solitaire, FreeCell Solitaire, Hearts, Spades and a large collection of other free games. It also has comprehensive walk-throughs for new players that explain how to play.

Speak Your Mind

In Business Dailies

Sign up for a complimentary year of In Business Dailies with a bonus Digital Subscription of In Business Magazine delivered to your inbox each month!

  • Get the day’s Top Stories
  • Relevant In-depth Articles
  • Daily Offers
  • Coming Events