How to Politely Say No to Extra Work at the Workplace
Every employee wants to impress his/her bosses to stay in their good books. And there’s nothing wrong with that! It constantly pushes you to deliver your best work and proactively work towards achieving organizational goals. You may want to help the boss whenever asked, but you also need to draw a line somewhere. In your attempt to become the go-to person for the boss, you will often find yourself feeling overworked and stressed. In the long run, this will start affecting your productivity, and your overall reputation at the office will also suffer.
If you’ve been feeling overworked lately, sit down and analyze the daily tasks you’re involved in. Chances are the amount of time you spend on extra tasks exceeds the time you spend on the tasks you were initially hired for. This is a sign that it’s time to start saying no to taking on extra work. Saying no to the boss, especially when you have never said so earlier, takes courage. However, it’s not impossible if done the right way.
This article lists five polite, yet effective ways to say no to extra work to your boss without offending him/her or sabotaging your work reputation.


How You Can Politely Say No to Extra Work at the Workplace

two women at work - say no to extra work


1. Explain Your Current Workload

Your boss probably keeps giving you more work because they don’t know about all the other tasks you have at hand. This is especially true if you have multiple people assigning work to you. In that case, it’s impossible for the boss to be aware of all the work you already have on your plate. Had s/he known earlier s/he wouldn’t have bothered you in the first place.
The next time your boss asks you to work on an additional project, just inform him/her about your current schedule. Instead of bluntly saying no, just say that you’ll get back to him/her on the new project as soon as you can as you are currently occupied with other projects and have deadlines to meet.


2. Appreciate The Opportunity

Whether you do an additional task or not is secondary. What’s primary is to express your appreciation to the boss for considering you capable of the task.
It’s always better to start a conversation on a positive note. Show that you are enthusiastic about the new work/project and would love to assist after you complete your current job tasks.


3. Talk About The Priority Tasks

Is it just your boss who assigns tasks and projects to you? Great! Despite giving you a number of tasks with set deadlines, s/he asks you to take on additional work. Chances are either s/he has forgotten about the tasks already assigned to you or the priority has changed.
It’s important to communicate openly with your boss and discuss the priority of each task assigned to you. Once you’re clear on this, you’ll be able to work more productively without feeling burdened or worried about missing deadlines.


4. Suggest an Alternative

You may have too much on your plate already and simply don’t have the bandwidth to give immediate attention to a new task. However, stating your own problems (even when they are genuine) to the boss when s/he is seeking help from you is definitely not the right approach.
Bosses appreciate problem-solvers, and even if you can’t assist directly, you can help in other ways. For example, you can propose to share your input instead of completing the whole task yourself or suggest a colleague’s name whom you know is eager to take on additional work responsibilities.


5. Acknowledge The Request Tactfully

As humans, we love being acknowledged and heard. The same applies to your boss too. Appreciate the opportunity and explain to him/her your current work deadlines. Discuss the new work requirements with your boss and buy some time to respond to the request. Understanding what they want you to do will help you gauge how much time you’ll have to dedicate to the new project. You’ll establish an effective dialogue with your boss regarding your daily work commitments and how they’ll be affected after taking up the additional work.
Setting healthy boundaries in the workplace is important to avoid unnecessary stress and excessive workload. Saying no to your boss won’t ruin your reputation as a hard worker if you do it the right way. Instead, it will establish your reputation as a high-value employee who is good at prioritizing tasks and believes in delivering quality work within deadlines.

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