One in four workers feels under-utilised, leaving staff bored, demotivated and stressed. This leads to employers facing a hefty bill in staff turnover, wasted training programmes and poor efficiency.
These are the results of a survey undertaken by Investors in People UK, who warned employers that unless properly managed, their staff, rather than being their greatest asset, could become a liability.
"Boredom and frustration at work is often the result of an employee's lack of involvement with the company's goals and a feeling that their ideas are not wanted or listened to," said Mary Chapman, chief executive of Investors in People UK.
On Monday, the organisation is to launch a week of activity nationwide to raise awareness of the importance of people as the key competitive factor in an organisation.
The survey found that only one in four never felt bored or frustrated while at work. Some one in 10 white-collar workers felt bored or frustrated at work over half the time.
When asked about the effects of boredom at work, 50 per cent of employees claimed they felt stressed, one in three said they were more likely to look for another job, one in four would work the minimum hours possible, and 22 per cent said they would spend more time on personal matters or on the phone.
Boredom and demotivation were the major factors in staff turnover. One in four workers felt that over 25 per cent of their companies' staff turnover was due to these factors. One in eight workers is in companies where this problem is even more severe, with more than 50 per cent of staff losses being due to boredom.
But staff said that if they could get more involved with their company, and able to express their own ideas, they would be motivated and more likely to stay. Allowing greater creativity and involvement would reduce sick days (71 per cent), phone calls (62 per cent), stress (52 per cent) and increase efficiency (70 per cent) and hours worked (63 per cent).
The survey found that 72 per cent of men suggested ideas which were acted on, compared to only 65 per cent of women - females were not only less likely to suggest ideas, but companies were equally less likely to take up their suggestions.
Employees in the South were more likely to feel demotivated (61 per cent) if bored at work than those in the Midlands (50 per cent) and the North (52 per cent).