What is the risk of monotony?
Performing repetitive tasks carries not only the risk of burnout. Monotonous work reduces concentration, has a negative impact on the results achieved and increases the risk of accidents in the workplace.
Work on the production line is usually associated with particularly monotonous work. According to the OBOP survey, physical workers and tape workers are at the forefront of the most bored professions. Examples, however, can be multiplied – many classes are monotonous, boredom is also complained m.in. officials or security personnel. Monotony at work can affect any employee, regardless of industry or position.
Many people downplay the phenomenon of monotony at work, comparing it to ordinary boredom. The lack of external stimuli and changes in the perceived images and the lack of auditory stimuli cause employees to experience a decrease in mental and motor abilities.
Prolonged monotony slows down circulatory function, respiratory system and strongly intensifies drowsiness. The result dispersal and decrease in alertness can contribute to mistakes, including accidents at work.
We distinguish sensory monotony, caused by the lack of visual and auditory stimuli, and functional, associated with the constant repetition of the same activities.
The simplest tasks, of the so-called partial nature, affect the mental and physical condition of employees. A particularly dangerous consequence of monotony is a decrease in labour productivity and an increase in the number of mistakes made, which is why it can endanger occupational safety. This problem is particularly serious in professions where vigilance determines safety, e.g. in the driving profession.
In health and safety regulations, the phenomenon of monotony is one of the nuisance factors that should be neutralised or minimised by the management of the plant.
The method of prevention of monotony should be chosen depending on its causes. The easiest way to achieve good results using modern technical and organizational solutions, taking into account the psychophysical capabilities of the employee.
Potential nuisances and hazards can and should be foreseen already at the design stage of the workplace, taking into account its nature. This can be a change in the organisation of work, such as reducing the uniformity of routine processes. Specific solutions include, for example, the introduction of rotation – alternating tasks, limiting the number of repetitions of actions, their frequency and duration during one work shift. Another option worth considering is training on how to deal with monotony problems. Experts also point to the effectiveness of activities consisting in diversifying the working environment by e.g. broadcasting soft music. There may also be various additional attractions or a relaxation area.