A management theory that suggests boredom, a lack of meaningful tasks and subsequent lack of mental stimulation is a common problem affecting modern workers, particularly those in office environments where repetitive tasks may be regular occurrences.
The term and theory originated in a 2007 book, Diagnose Boreout, by Swiss business consultants Peter Werder and Philippe Rothlin. Boreout was named to compare with the more popular term burnout, which suggests stress is the major cause of mental malaise in the modern office worker.
Boreout theory suggests workers do not fulfil their potential due to frustration with organisational obstacles and processes, rather than laziness or a lack of skills. The authors suggest that boreout goes underreported because it suggests failings in the organisation itself, which firms will be keen to keep quiet.
Workers affected by boreout will typically work-avoidance strategies designed to make them seem busy and therefore ‘in demand’ within the organisation, so that management do not give them any extra work. Employees may stretch their work so that small tasks take much longer than necessary, or adopt pseudo-commitment strategies arriving early and leaving late to give the impression of commitment.