Don’t Offer Co-Workers Help Unless They Asked For It

Apparently offering co-workers help is a lot like offering advice– you shouldn’t offer it unless they ask for it. Michigan State University researchers surveyed 54 employees ages 21 to 60 who worked full-time jobs across a variety of industries. The scientists looked at data from a ten day period, in which 232 daily observations were taken into account that displayed daily helping, receipt of gratitude, perceived social impact and work engagement. Researcher Russell Johnson said there are two kinds of help– proactive (offered if not asked for) and reactive (given after being asked for.) Johnson explains the findings, saying, “What we found was that on the helper side, when people engage in proactive help, they often don’t have a clear understanding of recipients’ problems and issues, thus they receive less gratitude for it. On the recipient side, if people are constantly coming up to me at work and asking if I want their help, it could have an impact on my esteem and become frustrating. I’m not going to feel inclined to thank the person who tried to help me because I didn’t ask for it.” The take-home message: just mind your own business and do your own work, and if you ask for help be sure to express your gratitude.