First it was "quiet quitters" — then it was "loud laborers."
Now, American companies are dealing with another employee trend called "boreout."
The term describes a situation in which workers are bored, unengaged and unfulfilled in their jobs.
This trend is impacting workers, managers and corporate America overall, according to job experts.
Here's how it's doing that — and what to know about this career concern (and how to address it if it applies to you).
What is ‘boreout’ and how is it impacting workplaces?
"Boreout" is a phenomenon among employees defined as chronic boredom — the experience that one’s work is pointless, said Peggy Klaus, a communications and leadership expert with Klaus and Associates in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
"The result is employee stress, lethargy, lower creativity and productivity, an increase in physical and mental health problems, high staff turnover and early retirement," Klaus told FOX Business.
FILE - Frustrated person sits at a desk. (Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images)
How is ‘boreout’ connected to the 'quiet quitting’ trend?
In the past, people who did the bare minimum at work were pegged as lazy, said Klaus.
Today, that same situation is called "quiet quitting," she said.
Klaus said she puts the two trends in the same category.
"I see ‘boreout’ and ‘quiet quitting’ as the same thing," she said.
"To the degree that an employee refuses to do any work outside of the job description, engage in meetings unless directly addressed or respond to phone messages or emails, among other infractions, that person is definitely exhibiting ‘boreout,’" Klaus said.
Is there a particular type of employee who's embracing this concept?
The demographic most impacted by the concept is male and in the age range of 18 to 35, Klaus said.
A number of factors have contributed, she said.
FILE - A woman moves to comfort a co-worker who is slumped over her desk. (FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
They’ve spent the least amount of time in an organization and feel less emotionally connected and loyal to the company and colleagues, she said.
They have an array of job options, as it’s been a buyer’s market of late, said Klaus.
At this time in their lives, they are less encumbered by family responsibilities and so they are willing to take risks to change jobs, change cities and even change countries, Klaus also noted.
How does ‘boreout’ impact productivity?
"Boreout" is a highly contagious "virus" that spreads quickly and can infect the entire workplace, Klaus indicated.
She said "boreout" definitely decreases productivity and a company's bottom line.
At this time in their lives, they are less encumbered by family responsibilities and so they are willing to take risks to change jobs, change cities and change countries, Klaus also noted.
"Gallup estimated that low engagement is costing the global economy nearly $9 trillion," Klaus added.
What can managers do if they witness this behavior?
Communication is essential to combat "boreout," job experts noted.
"Managers can turn things around and create a more engaging work atmosphere for the employee with open and transparent communication," said Niki Jorgensen, managing director, client implementation with Insperity, who is based in Denver, Colorado.
Managers should address any concerns and work with the employee to determine a solution, she said.
"Solutions could be as simple as [giving] additional responsibility, creating a new reporting structure or setting [new] goals for career development," said Jorgensen.
FILE - Woman slumped over in exhaustion. (Diana Walker/Getty Images)
"When employees work toward a new goal and are given the tools to succeed, they can find renewed energy and excitement for their jobs."
What can workers do if they're part of the ‘boreout’ issue?
Klaus of Santa Fe shared advice for employees who recognize that "boreout" is all too familiar to them and understand they have a role to play in changing things.
- Make an inventory of the things you enjoy about your job and commit to a daily practice of what gives you pleasure at work.
- Ask for additional assignments, projects and training that will increase your expertise and reactivate your interest.
- Set new challenges. For instance, if you're a sales rep, expand your financial targets.
- Reconnect with colleagues throughout your business network.
- Commit to scheduling some time out of the office to bounce new ideas off people who inspire you.
- Stay current. Read e-newsletters and books and listen to podcasts that are relevant to your profession.
- Use technology to tighten routine tasks to free up time for other projects.
- Adjust your expectations. No one can be fulfilled and interested every minute of every day.
"Seek the advice of mentors, career counselors or the human resources department if you think ‘boreout’ is seriously affecting either your physical or mental health," Klaus also said.
Also, she said, recognize that "it may be time to change your career path toward something healthier for you."
How can companies help keep employees more engaged?
When managers and leadership have regular check-ins with employees, they can learn how to support teams and keep them engaged, Jorgensen indicated.
"Through regular communication, managers can quickly identify any issues before they become a major hurdle for their team and the company," she said.