Dubai: Boredom is creeping up in UAE workplaces, with employees spending five hours a week disinterested in their jobs, a new survey claims.

Managers polled in a study by Robert Half acknowledged that their staff end up spending nearly 13 per cent of their week bored at work. For full-time employees who work eight hours daily, that means they slog through their jobs for 5.2 hours each week.

For some of these workers, it is likely that they find their tasks repetitive, while others probably don’t have enough work to do or they don’t feel like interacting with their co-workers. Sitting through too many badly run meetings are also likely keeping employees disengaged.

According to the study, nearly half (47 per cent) of managers admitted that work is not  interesting enough that staff don’t feel challenged (36 per cent), and that there are too many meetings that are poorly executed (34 per cent).

Other reasons cited include a “lack of diversity within the role” (30 per cent). Managers also said that workers don’t enjoy interacting with their colleagues (25 per cent) or they get bored because there isn’t enough work to do (25 per cent).

Bad or inefficient management is another contributing factor to boredom (16 per cent), as well as strict workplace policies and procedures (14 per cent).  A small portion (7 per cent) cited a lack of understanding of the significance of their contribution to the company’s bottom line.

But does this mean many workers in the UAE are underworked and sitting idly by for hours each week? According to the proponents of the study, boredom “would better be described as a lack of interest, or a state of mind, rather than the physical activity during the day,” but it can have an impact on productivity and employee loyalty.

“The main takeaway from these results can be distilled quite simply – happy and engaged employees are more productive and loyal,”  Gareth El Mettouri, associate director at Robert Half UAE, told Gulf News.

“While there are some tasks that are involved in everyone’s job that aren’t enjoyable, constantly having employees who are bored in their roles means you aren’t able to support their development and best results.”

In an earlier study by Emolument.com, it was found that job satisfaction levels in the UAE are one of the lowest in the world, with about eight in ten (83 per cent) of workers admitting they are bored at work.

To keep the curiosity and interest alive in their staff, El Mettouri said 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 its long-term success.”

For employees who are feeling unfulfilled, it may be time to arrange a meeting with their boss. “Without raising your hand, you might be limiting your career progression. As one spends approximately a third of their life at work, they should aim to find a purposeful role where they can add value and find fulfllment.”

The study included managers with a hiring capacity within organisations in retail, construction and financial services, among other industries.