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大家都知道,工作过度会生病,但是你可知道,工作太无聊也会生病?研究人员指出,对工作提不起精神、觉得工作毫无意义的“闷爆”现象和过度疲劳一样会危害你的身心健康,甚至会引发抑郁症。

 

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Being chronically bored at work can have damaging consequences – and we need to talk about it more, say experts.

专家指出,长期对工作感到厌倦会带来有害后果,需要我们更多地进行探讨。

 

We all know what burnout is and why it’s bad. But fewer of us have heard of ‘boreout’ – a related phenomenon that’s arguably just as pernicious.

我们都知道什么是过度疲劳以及过度疲劳的危害性,但是了解“闷爆”的人就没那么多。“闷爆”是一种同样有害的职场现象。

 

While burnout is linked to long hours, poor work-life balance and our glamourisation of overwork, boreout happens when we are bored by our work to the point that we feel it is totally meaningless.

过度疲劳与工作时间过长、工作和生活失去平衡以及社会对工作过度的美化有关,而闷爆则是对工作厌倦至极,甚至觉得工作毫无意义。

 

Boreout doesn’t get as much attention as its workaholic cousin, but experts say that this phenomenon – which occurs across industries – can result in some of the same health problems for workers. It’s also bad for companies, because a workforce with boreout can lead to high staff turnover.

闷爆得到的关注没有过度疲劳那么多,但是专家表示,这一发生在多个行业的现象可以和过度疲劳一样导致员工产生一些类似的健康问题。员工闷爆对公司也有害,因为闷爆的劳动力队伍会引发较高的员工流动率。

 

何为“闷爆”?

 

"Boreout is chronic boredom. That sums it up,” says Lotta Harju, an assistant professor of organisational behaviour at EM Lyon Business School, France, who has studied boreout for years.

研究“闷爆”现象长达数年的法国里昂商学院组织行为学副教授洛塔·哈留指出:“一言以蔽之,闷爆是长期的厌倦。”

 

A number of factors can cause chronic boredom, including working in a demoralising physical environment like a cubicle farm, or feeling under-challenged over a prolonged period. But Harju says the fundamental experience of boreout is meaninglessness – “the experience that the work doesn’t really have any purpose, that there’s no point”.

多种因素都可能导致长期厌倦,包括在一个让人泄气的实体环境下工作,比如办公小隔间,或者长时间干缺乏挑战性的工作。但是哈留表示,闷爆的基本体验就是无意义感,“感觉工作没有任何目的,也没有意义”。

 

Ruth Stock-Homburg, a professor of human resources management at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, says she’s witnessed the phenomenon across multiple industries. “I started observing people in quiet hours in retail stores, and people are just standing there bored. Or taxi drivers that have to wait sometimes for hours in quiet times in the countryside.” Tech workers in Silicon Valley have also told her they feel the same way, she says.

德国达姆施塔特工业大学人力资源管理学教授露丝·斯托克-洪堡格称,她在许多行业都目睹了这一现象:“我观察到,在零售店生意冷清的时候,店员们无聊地站在那里。还有出租车司机有时候在乡下趴活,一等就是好几个小时。”她表示,硅谷的技术人员告诉她,他们也有同样的感觉。

 

Stock-Homburg and her colleagues have identified three main aspects of the boreout phenomenon: “being terribly bored, having a crisis of growth and having a crisis of meaning”.

斯托克-洪堡格和她的同事们指出“闷爆”现象的三个主要方面:“感到非常无聊、陷入成长危机和意义危机。”

 

Although it’s normal for everyone to get bored at work occasionally, being chronically bored for days on end may indicate that you need to address the issue, says Harju, because failing to do so can have consequences. In 2014, she worked on a study, looking at more than 11,000 workers at 87 Finnish organisations. She found that chronic boredom “increased the likelihood of employees’ turnover and early retirement intentions, poor self-rated health and stress symptoms”.

哈留称,尽管每个人在工作当中偶尔都会感到无聊,但是连续多日的长期厌倦感意味着你需要解决这个问题,因为如果不重视起来就会产生不良后果。2014年,哈留在一项研究中调查了87个芬兰机构的1.1万名员工。她发现,长期厌倦感会“增加员工流动和提前退休的意愿,并且更有可能导致自我评估健康不良的情况和应激症状。”

 

Other research backs this up. A 2021 study showed that 186 government workers in Turkey who suffered from boreout also dealt with depression, and high rates of stress and anxiety. Studies show depression from boreout can follow workers outside the office, and lead to physical ailments from insomnia to headaches.

其他研究也证实了这一观点。2021年的一项研究显示,土耳其的186名“闷爆”的政府职员大多遭受着压力和焦虑的困扰,还有人患上了抑郁症。研究显示,闷爆引发的抑郁症在工作之余会继续困扰着职员,并会引发失眠、头痛等身体不适。

 

“闷爆”怎么破?

 

"Boreout is different from burnout in the sense that bored-out employees rarely collapse out of exhaustion. Bored-out people may be present physically but not in spirit, and people can keep doing this for a good while,” says Harju.

哈留称:“闷爆和过度疲劳的不同之处在于,闷爆员工很少会因为筋疲力尽而倒下。闷爆者可能人在心不在,而且这种状况可以持续很长时间。”

 

Workers who realise they’re experiencing boreout may also be reluctant to flag it up as an issue to line managers or human resources. While the behaviours that feed into burnout – overwork, drive – are appreciated and rewarded by employers, boreout “reflects a lack of interest, a lack of motivation”, says Harju. “These are very much taboo in organisations.”

意识到自己闷爆的员工可能也不愿向直线管理人员或人力反映。哈留指出,尽管导致过度疲劳的工作过度、自我驱动行为会受到雇主的欣赏和奖励,但闷爆却“反映出缺乏兴趣和动力”,“这在组织里是很忌讳的。”

 

There are some quick fixes, like taking on work tasks that are more interesting to you. But a 2016 study Harju and her colleagues worked on showed that people who had boreout were less likely to engage in constructive activities like trying to find new, interesting challenges at work.

应对“闷爆”有一些权宜之计,比如承担自己更感兴趣的工作任务。但是哈留和她的同事在2016年开展的一项研究显示,闷爆者不太可能从事建设性活动,比如试图在工作中寻找有趣的新挑战。

 

What happens more often, she says, is that people will just show up at their desks and spend time shopping online, cyberloafing, chatting with colleagues or planning other activities. She says that these people aren’t lazy, but are using these behaviours as “coping mechanisms”.

她指出,更常见的情况是,闷爆者会在工位上网购、摸鱼、和同事聊天或计划其他活动。她指出,这些人不是懒,而是将这些行为作为“应对机制”。

 

Fahri Özsungur, an associate professor of economics at Mersin University, Turkey, who was behind the 2021 study on the health effects of boreout, points out that combatting the phenomenon isn’t just down to the individual.

土耳其梅尔辛大学的经济学副教授法赫里·奥兹孙古尔指出,抗击“闷爆”现象不能只靠个人。法赫里在2021年研究了闷爆对健康的影响。

 

"Giving meaning to the job is not just up to the employee,” he says, instead it’s up to management to create an office culture that makes people feel valuable.

他表示,“赋予工作意义不能只靠员工”,管理层有责任打造一种让员工感觉有价值的办公室文化。

 

If you think boreout is seriously affecting your health (either physical or mental), it may be valuable to ask yourself how you might be able to repoint your career path toward something healthier for you. Seek the advice of mentors, career counsellors or friends and family.

如果你认为闷爆已严重影响你的身心健康,你可能有必要问问自己要如何重新定位自己的职业道路,选择一份更有利于你健康的工作。你可以向导师、职业咨询师或亲友寻求建议。

 

“Boreout can mark a transition into something else: a different career entirely, or a different role in the organisation,” Harju says. “If people only take its cue.”

哈留说:“闷爆可能标志着一个转折点:完全不同的职业道路或组织中的不同职位。但愿人们可以领会这个暗示。”


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