It’s something most employees feel they should do, but going the extra mile at work could leave you feeling emotionally exhausted and struggling with a conflict between work and family.

A study by the University of Bath and King’s College London found conscientious workers were left feeling emotionally drained and “used up” because of their work, and struggling to balance it with family life.

The study, which involved employees at a UK customer call centre for a retail bank, also found that the side effects of being conscientious at work were more striking when employees were already doing well.

Those workers faced the challenge of keeping up their high performance while being landed with more work and responsibilities because of their hard-working reputation.

The study looked at employees at a UK customer call centre for a retail bank (Pictures: Getty)

Dr Bruce Rayton, from the University of Bath’s School of Management, said:  “They throw themselves into their job, consistently making an extra effort, to the extent that when they get home at the end of the day they feel physically and emotionally exhausted.

“Essentially they’re experiencing a type of burnout, and that’s damaging to health and well-being, and family life.”

Growing pressures mean that employers are looking for ways to improve their organisation’s performance, including encouraging employees to be “good citizens” by going the extra mile at work.

But researchers said little is known about the effect of this perceived “win-win” on personal and family life.

Home life - conscientious workers could find their family life suffering because of their struggle to balance it with work
Home life – conscientious workers could find their family life suffering because of their struggle to balance it with work

The team studied a number of types of behaviour that could impact on employee wellbeing, including helping colleagues at work and avoiding work conflict.

Professor Stephen Deery, from King’s College London’s School of Management & Business, who led the research, said: “At the moment individuals are faced with balancing the benefits of a better appraisal against the cost to health and family time.

“Companies that are designing people management policies need to ensure that the short term gains made by encouraging employees to go the extra mile are not outweighed in the longer term by the personal costs of this behaviour.”

The study, which looked at 79 call centre supervisors and customer service agents through surveys, is entitled The Costs Of Exhibiting Organisational Citizenship Behaviour, and is published in Human Resource Management. – (YahooNews)

By Ellen Manning

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