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The downside of helping colleagues at work

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The downside of helping colleagues at work

Noemi Nagy

Helping out work colleagues is usually associated with positive outcomes such as higher satisfaction and commitment at work and a better team climate. A recent study uncovered a less beneficial side of helping. Researchers from the USA found that responding to numerous help requests during the day is increasingly depleting for employees and manifests itself as reduced willpower and ability to focus, manage emotions or persist at difficult tasks. Responding to many help requests was particularly problematic for people who value helping others and who help on a regular basis. 

Koopman, J., Lanaj, K., & Scott, B. A. (2016). Integrating the bright and dark sides of OCB: A daily investigation of the benefits and costs of helping others. Academy of Management Journal, 59(2), 414-435.