Burnout vs Boreout – What’s the difference?Hays: Working For Your Tomorrowon February 2, 2024 at 4:21 pm Career advice | Career tips


Workplace stress and its contribution to poor mental health has become an increasingly more important topic for organisations. Many businesses have become aware of the dangers of burnout in their employees and the best ways to tackle this. A lesser-known problem that can cause similar issues to burnout, is boreout.

In this blog, we’ll look at the differences between burnout and boreout, and the ways you can tackle them.

What is burnout?

Burnout at work is when we feel exhausted due to chronic stress. Gone unnoticed, it can negatively impact your mental health. Burnout doesn’t discriminate. It’s prevalent in all industries and at all seniority levels.

What are symptoms of burnout?

Burnout can appear in a number of ways, including:

FatigueSelf-doubtLack of or loss of motivationDecreased work satisfaction

What are the main causes of burnout?

Burnout at work can occur in any individual, at any time. Some key contributing factors to burnout are:

High or increased workloadsHaving minimal control over responsibilities and tasksLittle to no reward or recognitionA lack of community amongst fellow employeesPoor communication and unclear expectations

Boreout – how is it different to burnout?

On the flip side to burnout, boreout is when a lack of meaningful work leads to similar outcomes.

What is boreout?

Boreout occurs when employees or individuals feel under stimulated or under challenged, which for the most part can lead to fatigue, dissatisfaction or low self-esteem.

What are the main causes of boreout?

Boreout can often be looked upon as the opposite of burnout. The main causes of boreout are:

Monotonous tasksUnchallenging workOverqualification for a roleLack of responsibilityUnderutilisation of skills

How to combat burnout and boreout at work

Burnout and boreout may be seen as the opposite of one another, however the ways to combat them, are largely similar.

Take care of yourself

Self-care needs to be prioritised, through good rest, nutrition and exercise. As discussed in a previous Hays blog, avoid presenteeism. Working when sick does not do you any favours, but you’re not alone if you’ve done so. According to the CIPD, 46% of UK employees have worked whilst too unwell to fulfil their duties, whilst 81% of employers saw presenteeism in its remote workers.

Communicate your boundaries

Be sure to set clear boundaries and communicate them with your manager. Many of us struggle to raise concerns of burnout or boreout with our employers, through fear of a negative reaction but it’s important to realise that bottling it up wont help. And remember, you’re not alone. According to the Financial Times, 50% of Americans said they’d suffered from burnout, whilst 46% of Australian workers felt burnt out in 2022. As for boreout, almost half of Americans are bored at work, according to research by Colorado State University Global. Talk to your manager to see if they can lighten the load or add to it, depending on your situation.

Manage your time

Learn to say no if the workload is becoming unbearable, or on the reverse, speak to your manager about taking on more responsibilities if you can feel boredom creeping in. Remember, with the explosion of AI tools such as ChatGPT, many monotonous tasks can also be taken off your plate.

Consider your options

In the event that these tips don’t fix your problem, maybe it’s time for a new challenge. Feeling satisfaction at work can lead us to fulfilling our career ambitions, whilst a lack of it will only create barriers to your success. If your workplace isn’t fostering a culture where wellbeing is high on the agenda, it may be time to find an employer who will.

Burnout vs boreout – things to remember

Whilst burnout and boreout can easily lead to the same results – poor mental health and dissatisfaction at work to name a few – they are the result of two opposites. Whilst increased workload and stress can lead to burnout, the opposite, a lack of meaningful work and responsibilities can increase the likelihood of boreout.

Remember to keep in mind the symptoms for both and raise concerns with your employer should you think burnout or boreout are becoming a problem for you.

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Career advice | Career tips

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