That’s the question I’ve been asking myself after reading the results of three separate studies about work: one that concludes being bored at work is a good thing, another that suggests meetings can actually lower a person’s IQ and still another that finds gossiping among work teams is positive.
The first study, conducted by a psychology professor in the U.K., concludes that completing boring tasks at work helps us become better problem-solvers, because our brains use daydreaming time to think creatively.
In the second study, after administering IQ tests to groups of college students, a researcher from Virginia Tech found that the students’ scores on the tests dropped when they were told how they compared to their peers when they answered the questions — even though a baseline IQ test showed the students were of similar and relatively high intelligence. The researcher connected the results to the workplace, in that if a coworker says or does something in a meeting that makes her seem smarter than you, your brain function can decrease.
Thirdly, a Ph.D. from the Netherlands suggests that gossiping among coworkers may boost work output, since no one wants to be whispered about as the team slacker and team members therefore will work harder to avoid being known around the water cooler as the weak link.
If being in meetings lowers my brain function, and the only good things being in the office has to offer is being bored and/or talking behind my teammates’ backs … what in the holy heck is the point? Can I just stay home?
I’d like to know what you think. Do you agree that gossip and boredom could make for better work output? What are the net positives that you see from going in to the office? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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