Too much work on your plate? Here’s how to tell your boss

Too much work on your plate? Here’s how to tell your boss

What’s top of mind at the watercooler.

While working from home has allowed many of us to enjoy unexpected benefits, like wearing sweatpants in meetings, it has also limited many managers’ ability to gauge their teams’ workload and stress levels. As a result, you may find yourself overwhelmed by an ever-increasing pile of responsibilities. But how do you tell your boss when they’re giving you too much work? To help guide you through that conversation, Sidekick spoke with two management professionals—Zaharo Tsekouras, chief of staff at on-demand housekeeping marketplace Spruce, and Sophie Wade, workforce innovator, speaker, and author of Empathy Works—for tips on communicating your priorities.

Before anything, there needs to be a “culture of trust,” Tsekouras told us. She recommends “speaking calmly, diplomatically; going into the conversation with positive intent, like your manager is there to help you.” Let go of any fears you may have and remember that your supervisor is also human, she added.

Then, prepare by writing down the tasks or projects that are overwhelming you, as well as any aspects of work you feel you need support on. When you’re ready to discuss those grievances, Tsekouras and Wade recommend you take the following steps:

  • Be transparent. Your employer may also have a lot on their plate, or could be unaware of your feelings. “This is not about appearing like you can’t handle it. It’s about trying to understand what is expected,” Wade said. “[The more you] speak up, the more [you both] can understand how you work and what you need.”
  • Discuss solutions and expectations. “The different elements of how [the work will get done] need to be clearly delineated, because otherwise, any work that you have will become overwhelming” if you don’t understand it, Wade explained. For instance, you might suggest delegating certain tasks to prioritize others, or reducing your presence in meetings and suggesting they be recorded instead.
  • Keep an open dialogue. “Having one-on-one [meetings scheduled] with managers is key,” Tsekouras said. “The managers can proactively ask their [employees] about the projects they’re working on and any challenges they might be experiencing.”
  • Communicate the times you feel balanced. Let your employer know when you feel things are working well as much as when they aren’t. “[Say] things like ‘I really love what I’m working on right now because of [these reasons],’” Tsekouras said. “It can be really beneficial and could even turn into asking for more projects that are similar in nature to the things that energize you.”—SS
This article first appeared in Discovery Mood & Anxiety Program Blog

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