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Is it worth going the extra mile at work?

Is it worth going the extra mile at work?

When searching for employment, we usually pay attention to the job description and requirements to understand what employers expect us to do within a specific position. In the majority of cases, the list is comprehensive and informative enough to help us envision what our working routine will look like. Without a second thought, you accept the job offer and are looking forward to kicking off your operations… and suddenly, you hear the “going the extra mile” thing. Have you accidentally enrolled in participating in the endurance competition or what kind of extra mile are they talking about, and why has no one mentioned it before? No panic! We’ll answer all your questions in our article and share feasible advice on going the extra mile without harming your work-life balance.

What does ‘Going the Extra Mile’ mean at work?

The competition in the job market is hitting its peak, which causes lots of inconveniences for both parties, employees and employers. To land a better job with decent career prospects, a candidate should stand out among thousands of others. To overtake their rivals, bosses have to become ‘tough guys’ and squeeze as much as possible from their workers. Here comes “going the extra mile,” which in management jargon means improving “organizational citizenship behavior.” It’s about an employee’s eagerness and readiness to tackle additional tasks or take on additional responsibilities even during demanding periods to improve overall performance and contribute to a company’s success.

Among the aforementioned additional tasks, there might be handling extra work of any kind, providing support or guidance to your co-workers, or actively looking for solutions to solve problems, even though it’s above and beyond your call of duty. On the one hand, being engaged and so initiative may boost morale and serve as a driving force for others to contribute more than a bare minimum. On the other hand, it has a high chance of ending in a work-family conflict.

Benefits of Going the Extra Mile at Work

Let’s first have a look at why this approach can be fruitful. The vast majority of modern companies base their working processes on teamwork. However, a team as an organism has its own rules and principles. For one, there should be a driving force and a healthy environment to fuel and guide its members to the expected goals. A team member who goes beyond their responsibilities and demonstrates helping behavior tends to create a high-frequency environment that is highly favorable to a team’s success. The same story is with making constructive suggestions and remarks to your team members.

Extra milers usually manifest themselves in several ways: providing leadership and taking responsibility if something is going downhill; actively developing strategies or coming up with ideas in case of an emergency; supporting or guiding colleagues if they have a hard time performing their duties effectively. By doing so, they create a safe and trustworthy environment, therefore, turning their team into a functional, healthy, and open-minded entity that can achieve goals and overcome challenges more efficiently.

Reasons to Go the Extra Mile At Work

Besides the overall good extra milers bring to their company, they also receive personal perks. We’ll not play the hypocrite – extra milers also have their personal interests. Merely find out how exactly you can benefit from it below.

To Increase Your Likelihood of Promotion

Being always proactive and fully involved in your company’s routine is bound to pay off one day. Should you demonstrate your engagement and put in extra effort regularly, there are high chances of being noticed by your boss and advancing. However, getting noticed is important, especially in large-scale companies. Managers sometimes have no physical opportunity to know every team player, so help them by announcing yourself.

To Improve Your Job Satisfaction and Motivation

Doing the bare minimum at work, we may detach and lose the sense of commitment. It can lead to a lack of interest, motivation, and as a result, job satisfaction. Once excited to work hard and contribute to your company, you may be unhappy at work one beautiful morning. Why not try to revive your passion by doing a bit more than usual? Seeing how meaningful and valuable your contribution can be will also help your focus and engagement get back on track.

To Enhance Your Professional Reputation

Another perk of being an extra miler is that everybody in your team or department will notice and recognize your name. You may not receive promotional offers straightaway, but it’s a great start to strengthening your positions and getting better job prospects. And even if you decide to change your current workplace, your boss will likely give you excellent feedback or a recommendation letter, making you way more competitive in the job market.

Strategies for Going the Extra Mile At Work

So, let’s look closely at what you can expect to do when volunteering for extra responsibilities. However, the first thing to remember is that you should not take additional workload at personal costs, thus sacrificing your mental well-being or relationships with your nearest and dearest.

Take on Additional Responsibilities

This point comprises such behaviors as conscientiousness and civic virtue. The first one represents going above and beyond the minimum, whereas another one stands for higher levels of involvement in the company’s life. We recommend that you remain mindful when taking on extra tasks and don’t overestimate your energy resources; otherwise, in pursuing a pipe dream, it’s easy to end up with burnout and lose everything.

Demonstrate Adaptability and Flexibility

These behaviors include courtesy and sportsmanship. Courtesy means avoiding work-related conflicts with customers, colleagues, or managers; sportsmanship refers to a tolerant attitude to inconveniences that your work may include. In both cases, this behavior should be based on genuine nature, not artificially created. Trying to impose an artificially neutral attitude on yourself may result in mental or nervous breakdowns out of the blue.

Offer to Help Colleagues

This behavior is called altruism and will work out only if you are patient and tolerant of other people’s mistakes. It would help to realize that different people have different learning capacities. On the flip side, passing down our knowledge to others and seeing their progress is incredibly rewarding and benefits both sides.

Negative consequences of Going the Extra Mile at Work

Despite all the gains, it’s worth mentioning what drawbacks taking extra responsibilities may imply. Being aware of those can help you either realize that going the extra mile is not your cup of tea or get better prepared and develop strategies to avoid negative outcomes.

Increased Stress Levels

High levels of stress are an integral part of such behaviors. The question is if you can reap the benefits of stress or if you see it exceptionally like a threat and danger. You may consider researching how to turn stress into a positive and healthy experience for both your mind and body. If you’re energetic and open to new challenges, you’ll be well on your way to success!

Risk of Burnout

We’ve already mentioned that more tasks and responsibilities require more time devoted to work. Be ready to take time-management training to handle extra duties and don’t cling to the hope that it will work itself out somehow. The most likely scenario is that you get sick and tired of everything because of feeling exhausted. And by the way, it also takes time and effort to cope with this state.

Unrealistic Expectations from Others

Everybody has different life circumstances and situations. If you are eager to go the extra mile, others may have various possibilities or simply another point of view. This is personally your choice, and expecting the same behaviors from others will be unfair. Whether you’re a team lead, manager, boss, or an average employee who’s gone the extra mile – stick to your aim and stay open-minded and respectful to all approaches.

Conclusion

So, extra milers are beneficial for both employers and employees. Such behaviors can result in improved performance, healthier and more constructive environments, promotional opportunities, and boosted morale and engagement within the team. However, if taken hastily, one may face unbearably high-stress levels that result in burnout and poorer work-life balance. That’s why make a conscious decision before putting this approach into practice.

Date: 8 March 2023
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