Your helpfulness at work is hurting your job performance - Deepstash
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Protecting high performers from "collaboration overload"

Protecting high performers from "collaboration overload"

From when we were young, we learned that helping others is a virtue. But when we entered the business world, we soon discovered that being a helper at the office comes at a cost. 

High performers are often drawn away from their own work to help other employees and are asked to carry more weight. It's vital that organisations empower their workers to protect their time and sanity, so their desire to help doesn't cause more harm than good.


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Collaborative work consumes most of our week

Collaborative work is the time we spend working with and helping others. This includes email, phone calls and video chats. According to McKinsey, collaboration activities consume 42% of a knowledge worker's time, leaving less time for uninterrupted deeper work.

As we spend time on collaborative work, the tasks that require our focused work take longer to complete, causing our workdays to extend into the evening hours. This increase the burnout risk, especially of the helpful.


51 reads

A self-inflicted problem

We could blame Zoom and Slack for our difficulty finding time to focus, but the story is more complex. Studies show that 20% - 35% of value-added collaboration comes from 3% - 5% of employees. 

Helpful employees build a reputation for being capable and willing and are continually drawn into collaborative efforts and requests, resulting in a lack of performance. Unfortunately, this teamwork often happens under the radar and go unrecognised by management.


53 reads

How to prevent collaboration overload

Top performers know that saying "yes" to collaboration requests means saying "no" to other things. 

  • Identify the areas where you are best equipped to really add value.
  • Boundaries. Be clear with managers and team members about your working hours and stick to them.
  • Time blocking. Block off time on your calendar for focused work and resist responding to non-urgent messages during those hours.
  • Agenda setting: Ensure you have a clear agenda for every meeting and that you have a hard stop at the end.
  • Schedule regular standing meetings and encourage everyone to keep their questions for this time.


40 reads



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