ASK HR:Is it wise to turn down excess work given by our boss?

Wednesday March 18 2020

To be honest, we are burnt out. Is it okay to reject some assignments and let the boss know that our hands are full? PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH


Q. My boss went on leave last week leaving my colleagues and I some assignments to complete before she is back in two weeks. She even apologised for leaving such a huge pile of work behind. However, since the day she went on leave, she has been sending us new assignments on a daily basis. We now have to work overtime and come to work early.

To be honest, we are burnt out. Is it okay to reject some assignments and let her know that our hands are full?

In life you have a choice to look at the glass as half full, or half empty. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your capability to handle responsibilities for the next level.

There are many of your peers who may be working under bosses who don’t give them a chance to learn and understand their work. Some are apprehensive that if they delegate their responsibilities, their employees will outperform them, while others are not interested in developing talent.

However, it seems that your boss is giving you many tasks that have competing deadlines and hence stressing you out. It is not advisable to reject the assignments, instead negotiate for realistic deadline and learn to prioritise.

Most employees are not able to “push back” when dealing with their bosses. It is a sign of maturity in managing your boss when you are able to say “no” albeit in a polite manner and with clear reasons.

Otherwise you will suffer burnout which in turn might affect your performance. Times are hard and many companies have a “freeze” on recruitment.

If it is the case in your company, you can negotiate to hire an intern, who will ease the workload as they also learn on the job.

Evaluate when you are most productive so that you can plan your time better.

Why don’t you work out a flexi time arrangement to ease the pressure? It is not realistic to work late and still report early in the morning.

Productivity declines when you are fatigued and you are not being fair to yourself or to the organisation. You can also take advantage of the different abilities and strengths in the team based on the task and share out the work accordingly.

When is the last time you took leave? When the boss resumes, work out a schedule with your colleagues and agree when each can take a few days to rest and recharge.

The bosses we work with especially at the start of our careers, are very critical in shaping our work ethics. Therefore, it is important to be given stretch responsibilities that challenge and develop you for the next role.

You must create time for yourself to engage in an activity you enjoy. This work will outlive you therefore don’t risk getting sick in the process of earning a living.


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