Employees spend over 5 hours a week bored at work, according to their managers

July 20, 2017

Independent research from Robert Half UK reveals employees spend an 5.3 hours a week bored at work. 

  • Employees spend an estimated 5.3 hours a week bored at work
  • Employees in London/South East and the South West/Wales are most bored
  • Managers are failing to inspire employees with interesting work, variety or new challenges

London, 20 July 2017 – On average, managers recognise that their employees are spending nearly 14% of their week bored at work, according to research from leading recruitment specialist, Robert Half UK. For an average full-time employee working an 7.5-hour day, this is equivalent to 5.3 hours a week.

Employees in London and the South East are the most bored, with managers anticipating that staff spend over six (6.4) hours a week uninterested in their jobs. This is closely followed by the South West and Wales who are estimated to spend 6 hours a week bored at work. Employees in Scotland are seen as less likely to be bored, with managers claiming that the workforce spends just shy of four uninterested hours at work.

Region

Amount of hours spent bored at work each week1

Percentage of time that employees spend bored at work

London and South East

6.4

17%

South West and Wales

6

16%

Midlands

5.6

15%

North

4.9

13%

Scotland

3.8

10%

For large companies with more than 500 employees,the amount of time that employees spend bored at work jumps to 7.1 hours (19%), the equivalent of nearly a full working day. In comparison, employees in medium-sized organisations with 250-499 employees are estimated to spend just over half that amount of time (3.8 hours a week) uninterested in their work.

Managers highlighted the reasons that employees are most likely to be bored during the course of the week. Over a third (35%) of managers confessed that work was not interesting enough, that staff don’t feel challenged (32%) and that there is a lack of diversity on offer within the role (30%). Inefficient internal processes could also be to blame: one in three (30%) said that there are too many meetings that are poorly executed.

“With the current skills shortage, managers need to focus efforts on keeping the role interesting to boost employee engagement and ultimately support higher retention” commented Phil Sheridan, Senior Managing Director at Robert Half UK. “To ensure employees perform to the best of their ability and remain interested in their jobs, employers need to introduce greater variety by giving workers the opportunity to develop new skills or take on additional responsibilities. It’s important to remember that employees who are more interested in their jobs are likely to make a greater contribution to the organisation and contribute to long-term success.”

Sheridan adds, “In an economy where small and medium-sized firms account for 99.9% of all private sector business2 , this bodes well for professionals looking to find interesting and meaningful work. These businesses often have a greater opportunity to offer more varied roles, greater involvement in the business strategy and added scope for innovation.”

– ENDS –

Notes to editors

The annual study was developed by Robert Half UK and is conducted by an independent research firm.  The study is based on more than 400 interviews with hiring managers from companies across the UK, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location.


1 Calculated based on the percentage of time that a full-time employee working a 37.5-hour week is estimated to spend bored at work

2 https://www.fsb.org.uk/media-centre/small-business-statistics

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500 and #1 in our industry on FORTUNE® magazine’s “World's Most Admired Companies” list (2016). Founded in 1948, the company has over 325 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and job seeker resources at roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.