Proper way to deal with excessive workload

Hi guys,

Purely as a hypothetical, what is the "correct" way to deal with being given an excessive workload by your employer? I think I handled the situation less than ideally in a previous role, and was wondering what the "proper" way of dealing with it is.

By 'excessive', I mean the sort of work that can't be done by you; even if you do 20 hours overtime every week for six months it still builds up. It came from taking over another company, making all of their staff redundant and giving me all their work, plus allowing two others in the department (of six) to halve their hours and have me pitch in to cover the remaining time. My previous employers response was basically: "I don't see that you are being given too much" and "If you don't like it, you can leave".


  • sarahwilson
    sarahwilson Registered Posts: 567
    I had a similar situation in my past role. I don't know that I dealt with it ideally but the work was redistributed and I got what I wanted so as well.

    First thing I did was make a list of all the tasks there were and list them in order of priority and put someones name next to them on the deaprtment who was competent to deal with them, I left one person to keep on with the day to day stuff short term.

    I then went to my employer and said basically I can't work all these hours any more and I and the company aren't getting anywhere either. I showed him what I had come up with and said if everyone agrees to work 1.5 hours overtime a day for 6 weeks we can get back on track with the day to day being taken care of as well. After that if we still aren't on top we could extend this if everyone is willing, on the proviso that we aren't having work put on us as if we will always work the extended working day.

    It worked out OK, we all had to be a bit firm and say no to stuff that wasn't urgent and in the end we got another member of staff too.
  • Raging Pineapples
    Raging Pineapples Registered Posts: 110 🎆 🐘 🎆
    Start to complain of stress-related illnesses. Once you use the word 'stress' in the workplace, it conjures up a great many dark and scary health & safety issues. :) Get the manager's reel of red tape and strangle him with it, because stress due to overwork is a very real problem these days, and one which your managers have a duty to deal with
  • Bookworm55
    Bookworm55 Registered Posts: 479
    because stress due to overwork is a very real problem these days, and one which your managers have a duty to deal with

    I was certainly suffering from, and receiving treatment for, stress-related mental health issues. But there's a very big gap between knowing your manager has a duty towards you and making your manager recognise that fact, let alone getting them to do anything about it!
  • A-Vic
    A-Vic Registered Posts: 6,970
    Sort of simular here i went for a job at the place am in now but better role, but was told i was needed where i was and that untill i train up another member of staff to take over my role i would have no chance (bearing in mind we are only a small practise, and the only other person to take my role struggles turning on their computer as they had never used one up untill 6 months ago). So then they advertised and found someone else for it.

    Well surprise surprise that new member of staff turned out to be useless and gave their notice and left on the same day.

    This was over 2 months ago. The cheek of it all i am now "filling in, for the time being" as well as doing my own job (their words) untill they can find someone else. So double work load twice as hard and they wont advertise now as the work is getting done. How the hell do you say excuse me get someone else to do the work, or give me the job and better money?
  • sarahwilson
    sarahwilson Registered Posts: 567
    I would say just that, Vic. If you can do the workload I would point out that you are now covering 2 jobs and want your salary to reflect that.
  • Amanda Sanderson
    Amanda Sanderson Registered Posts: 6 Regular contributor ⭐ 😼 ⭐
    Hi - my current employer used to change her accountants once every six months, because no one could work for her, due to long hours particularly at month end. They used to say her desk was like teflon - nothing stuck to it.
    As sarah says they get what they pay for - my salary is significantly higher that my predecessors - And i have been with her for over a year know.
    I deal with the work load by delegating responsibility - i know it sound easier said than done but giving staff responsibility creats job satisfaction.
    I also operate a 5S strategy - handy website -
    Try to think ahead - plan - timetable.
    And ask for one to one discussions when you think you might not meet your deadline, ask for help - If you employer is worth thier salt they will respect you for it.
    I hope this advice helps.
    Take it from one who's been there - I once worked a fourty hour shift - went in on a monday morning at 7:30 and did not go home till tuesday evening 11:00.
    It not worth it- think of number 1 - I left and I am much happier now.
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