New Research Reveals The Negative Side of Helping Coworkers

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Saying No To Coworkers Is Not A Bad Idea After All

Helping coworkers may not be a good idea after all, especially when it is done in the morning, according to a study conducted by researchers from Michigan State University.

According to the study, helping coworkers in the morning can lead to mental exhaustion and self-serving behavior in the afternoon. And what makes it worse, the impact can ultimately create a toxic work environment.

This key finding was confirmed by Russell Johnson, a professor of management in MSU’s Broad College of Business, the main author of the research.

Johnson explained, “The increase in mental fatigue from helping coworkers in the morning led employees to reduce their helping behaviors in the afternoon and, perhaps more interestingly, they engaged in more self-serving political behaviors in the afternoon as well.”

Aside from that, workers who tend to be helpful in the morning to their office mates will become selfish in the afternoon.

The study compliments the previous study of Johnson that highlighted the downsides of helping others at work.

The Study and Key Results

To further probe the negative impact of helping coworkers, Johnson and his colleagues invited 91 full-time employees as respondents of the study.

For 10 consecutive days, the respondents answered surveys about their workplace experiences. They answered one survey in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Here are the results:

The study found that helping workers may not only harm the well-being of the individual, but through the subsequent increase in political behavior may harm others in the office as well.

The study explained, “Although we did not identify the consequences of these political behaviors, research has established that political acts from employees can culminate into a toxic work environment with negative well-being and performance consequences.”

An Exemption

Amid the negative impact of working coworkers, the researcher are not saying that workers will not extend any help to their coworkers in the morning. It is suggested that they can still help their office mates, but only with discretion.

In addition, work breaks and lunch breaks can be helpful for employers. In this way, employees can recover from work-related fatigue.

An employee helping her coworker.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.