How can I tell my employer that I am being overworked?

How can I tell my employer that I am being overworked?

It has become normal for employees to work overtime hours. Most employees admit to working over eight-hour days throughout the week, and even more hours over the weekend. There can be weeks where you lose time for sleep, hobbies, self-care, family time, etc. – just to finish that one project. You say to yourself, “I just have to get through this one, and then I’ll have more time…” But then the next week you are given the same amount of work, and then again, the following month. Work has just become endless.

This is not an enjoyable way for an employee to live their life, and it is definitely not sustainable. Many employees would put their heads down and get the work done because they feel like there’s no other option. The last thing they want is their employer thinking they are ungrateful and lazy, or even worse, lose their job because they’ve admitted they can’t handle the workload.

But what if there was another way? What if there was an opportunity to reduce your workload and have more time to spend doing the things you enjoy, while also excelling at your job?

First, think about how you can improve your own productivity.

You may need to practice prioritizing your work. Create a list of all your daily tasks and extra projects that need to be completed for the week. Think about what tasks are most important, as well as which ones take the longest and shortest amount of time. For week-long projects, find a specific time each day that you can dedicate to these assignments. Once you create a routine, you will complete each task much more efficiently.

Manage your time wisely. Create an hourly schedule to organize your responsibilities. Pay attention to the hours you are most productive and choose to do the most challenging assignments during that time. On the days where the list may feel longer, find ways to take multiple mini breaks instead of one longer break so you don’t lose motivation in the afternoon.

Don’t be afraid to turn down additional work when you don’t have the time, or it feels out of your scope. When your boss emails asking to complete more work, most of the time, they are really asking. When drafting a response, don’t just say no. Explain that it may take away from the quality of other tasks you are already trying to complete, and it may not be in the best interest of the team. Even if you feel like you could get it done, don’t force it if it feels unbearable.

If you have been implementing these suggestions already, and work still feels all-consuming, it may be time to have a conversation with your employer.

Start by explaining why you feel overwhelmed. Include how many hours you have been working, the steps you have taken that haven’t fully resolved the issue, and why this has led to a concern about future burnout.

Also describe how it may be affecting your energy. If you have been falling asleep at work, less motivated to complete daily tasks, or producing fewer creative ideas – your employer should know. These are all signs that you have been, or soon will be, experiencing burnout.

Begin a conversation on how you may solve the issue. You know yourself best, if there are changes that will help you in the long run, don’t be afraid to share. Really pay attention to when you perform best. Describe what these moments or work weeks looks like to you and ask whether your employer can help emulate those periods more often.

If the additional responsibilities you’ve been assigned are largely outside the scope of your work, to the point where it has become a fundamental change to your role, it may be acceptable to file a constructive dismissal claim. If this is the case, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.