This Workload Negotiation template will help you to present an evidenced argument to your manager as to why your workload should be adjusted.
Anyone who has worked for a boss in any capacity has been in this situation before. You want to do a good job and take on every task that is assigned to you - but at some point it just becomes too much. So how do you tell your boss that you can't take anymore without coming across as a whiner or a bad employee? It is a delicate situation to be sure. If you speak up, you risk looking bad in the eyes of your boss. If you don't say anything, your performance may suffer while trying to get all of the work done and you may be seen poorly by your boss for a different reason.
Fortunately, there is a way out of this situation where you can look good and the message can get across to your boss. When handled properly, your boss will respect you for speaking up and understand your side of the situation. Use the following three tips to make sure you approach this situation correctly the next time it comes up.
Catch the Problem Early
By far the most important part of this situation is saying something before it becomes too late. For example, if you have multiple projects assigned to you and wait until they are due to tell your boss you are overworked, that is not likely to be met with a good response. You need to speak up right away at the first sign of overload.
In fact, it is a good idea to plant the seed with your boss before you truly feel you have been given too much work. When you are assigned an extra project, it can be helpful to say something like "I can take this one on, but won't have much more time for anything else." This way, you are accepting the assignment, yet also pointing out that your time is being stretched thin. Hopefully, your boss will remember the comment and look to someone else the next time an additional task needs completing.
Have Your Facts in Place
Simply walking into your bosses' office and saying you are overworked won't be a good strategy. If he or she has assigned you all of the work, they obviously think that you can handle it. Before confronting them with this problem, take some time to organize your case. Detail how long each part of your job takes to complete, and show them that there are simply not enough hours in the day. Hard facts are difficult to argue against, so building a logical case is a great way to demonstrate your oversized workload.
Team Up with a Co-Worker
You are probably not the only employee in the office that feels overworked by what your boss has assigned to you. The complaint will carry more weight if two or more of you have a meeting and air your concerns as a collective unit. The important point in this case is that you are all united in the complaint, and won't be arguing amongst yourselves during the meeting. Your boss needs a workforce that is motivated and satisfied, so a group of employees that all feel overworked is something that will surely draw attention.
This kind of a meeting requires a positive tone to be successful. If it comes across as angry or disgruntled in some way, the reception will not be as desired. Try to frame the meeting in a positive light that is concerned with the overall good of the company. Keeping it upbeat will help prevent the finger pointing and arguing that can sometimes result in this scenario.
Before you speak with your boss about being overworked, make sure that you really are. Think about how you spend your time, and if you could get more done by being more efficient or focused during the day. If you are confident that your performance is spot on and you truly have too much to do, think about the three tips above and speak with your boss confidently about this situation.