How to Talk to Management About a Workload That Is Too High
Do you thrive on challenges? Love deadlines? Pack as much as possible into each day? Even those who enjoy pushing their limits get overwhelmed.
While it’s important to stretch to achieve goals, it’s equally crucial to recognize when our workload is too high—or our manager’s expectations have become unreasonable.
What are the signs of a too-high workload?
- Long hours without breaks.
One of the most common signs that your workload is too high is when you find yourself working long hours without taking any breaks. Although it might feel like you’re getting more accomplished, your productivity and focus are likely to decline, leading to more errors, stress, and frustration.
- Constant multitasking.
Multitasking can seem like an effective way to manage a heavy workload, but it can be counterproductive. Studies have shown that multitasking can reduce productivity, increase stress, and decrease the quality of work.
- Missed deadlines.
When your workload is too high, prioritizing tasks and managing your time effectively can be challenging, leading to missed deadlines.
- Physical symptoms.
Physical symptoms such as headaches, back pain, and insomnia can result from work stress.
Do any of those red flags sound familiar? If you’re struggling to manage your workload, consider seeking support from your manager. Talking to a supervisor about an overwhelming workload can be a delicate conversation, but it’s important to address the issue to maintain your well-being and productivity.
Here are some tips to help you address the topic without sounding like a slacker:
- Schedule a meeting. Show that you are taking the issue seriously and respect your manager’s time by scheduling a mutually convenient meeting time.
- Be specific. Give examples of tasks you struggle to complete due to your workload. Explain how this affects your ability to meet deadlines or produce quality work. If possible, suggest solutions or alternate ways to get the job completed.
- Frame your struggle positively. Frame the conversation as a collaborative effort to improve your performance and the team’s productivity. Your manager will be more receptive if they feel like you are looking for a way to be more productive—not less.
- Work as a team. Remember to remain professional and respectful during the conversation. You and your manager have the same goal: to find solutions that work for you, the team, and the company.