In a recent Harvard Business Review article by Cassie Mogilner of UPenn’s Wharton School, the hypothesis presented suggested that the more you spend time helping others, the more productive you actually become. This of course is counter intuitive, as surely time consumed helping other people is time taken away from what you should be doing yourself. However human behavior very often defies logic. The case that is being made suggests that by helping others in small ways you feel more fulfilled and time actually appears to become more expansive to complete what you need to do.
This is quite similar to an earlier piece of research whereby people who spent money helping others were much happier than those who spent it on themselves. If you feel good and energized you are more likely to be engaged and therefore committed to whatever you have to do. It feeds the old mantra that those who help others are also helping themselves.
So how does this translate into the world of work? Imagine an environment where everybody is extremely cooperative and helpful to each other; that sounds reasonable. Working as part of a team is one instant way that organizations can flourish; it forces these types of helping exchanges, even for the doubters. Or what about the leaders who claim they are too busy? This theory also supports them by encouraging more time spent helping and coaching their people. When they do, inevitably they feel much better.
People are by nature communal; they function best and at their optimal when interacting with others. By ensuring they function as part of a group and are afforded opportunities to continuously help others can only serve to improve overall levels of productivity and engagement within your organization.