Corporate America is often portrayed as a place where everyone is drowning in work, with employees frantically doing the job of more than one person. A recent OfficeTeam survey paints a very different picture, though: Often, administrative professionals are actually bored at work — a whopping 10.5 hours per week, on average. That’s more than a full day a week, or the equivalent of 68 days a year!

The survey also shows that many managers don’t really know admins are as bored as they actually are. And even fewer know why they’re bored.

Nearly four in 10 senior managers (39 percent) think staff have too much work on their plates. However, more than a quarter of employees (27 percent) report that the main reason boredom strikes is because there isn’t enough to do. Others don’t feel challenged by their assignments (19 percent), say the work is uninteresting (18 percent), or point to too many or poorly executed meetings (17 percent).

Employees were also asked what they do when they're bored in the office. Here are some of their more creative activities:

20 Things People Do When They're Bored at Work from Robert Half


So what do you do if you're bored at work? Here are some suggestions:

Share your feelings

Start by letting your manager know you’re not feeling engaged and share your reasons why. If you have a performance review coming up, that might be a good time to share your concerns. Bring suggestions about what would engage you in your job to any meeting with your manager. In addition to adjusting your workload, consider asking your manager to support you in learning a new skill, taking on a new challenge or finding a way to make your environment more collaborative.

If boredom is making you think about searching for a new job, first take time for an objective look at your company and position and consider whether you’ll regret leaving. You also might consider whether your boredom is cyclical or a result of an outside force, and, if so, what you could do to change or cope with it. For instance, while 45 percent of professionals said they felt bored throughout the year, another 28 percent said they feel the most blah during the winter.

It might also benefit you to take a step back and see how others in your generation measure value at work — and how it might be impacting your career satisfaction. Robert Half recently joined with Happiness Works to conduct a research study that evaluated the happiness levels of more than 12,000 working professionals. The study revealed that a sense of accomplishment is the strongest driver of happiness for employees under 35. In the same vein, a recent study released by Udemy found that young Millennials (ages 21-24) are nearly twice as likely to be bored at work (38%) than Baby Boomers (22%). See if you can make similar connections for your age group.

Check out our full report on happiness at work

Get creative to combat boredom

If you’re committed to sticking with your current job situation, try to make the most of your slower days at work. Consider some of these ideas:

  • Upgrade your skill set by taking a self-paced online course.
  • Learn something new that’s related to your job.
  • Find a co-worker who shares in your boredom and cross train each other so you can pick up the slack when one of you takes time off or has an especially heavy workload.
  • Work on a personal project that engages you creatively.
  • Ask to sit on a company committee or take on workplace research.
  • Join a professional organization that could utilize your expertise and help expand your network, which could benefit you and your company.
  • Focus on running better meetings yourself so that your team is more engaged and energized.

The bottom line is that if you’re bored at work, it’s up to you to make a job change or find a way to be more engaged. If you accept your fair share of determining your work happiness, you’re likely to be more satisfied in the long run.

Find your next administrative job

If you're bored at work and want to look for a new job, we can help. Here are some open administrative assistant jobs in hot cities: