Helping colleagues too often can hurt your job performance


Helping your colleagues too often can lead to mental and emotional exhaustion as well as hurt your job performance, suggests a new study.

The findings showed that the exhaustion levels were greater in employees with high “pro-social motivation” — or those who care deeply about the welfare of others.

“Helping co-workers can be draining for the helpers — especially for employees who help a lot,” said Russell Johnson, associate professor at Michigan State University in the US.

“When the high pro-social motivation people are asked for help, they feel a strong obligation to provide help — which can be especially taxing,” he added in the paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

For the study, the team conducted a survey on 68 employees across various industries — including finance, engineering and health care — for 15 consecutive workdays.

On days when employees find themselves engaging in unusually high amounts of helping, they can attempt to bolster their energy by the strategic use of breaks, naps and stimulants like caffeine, the researchers suggested. Help-seekers, on the other hand, should realise that asking for help — especially multiples times a day — has detrimental effects on the employees who are helping, the researchers said.

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