Ask HR: Is it wrong to complain about too much work?

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What you need to know:

  • It is however crucial to approach the situation in a constructive and professional manner.


  • You should be prepared to provide specific examples of how your workload is impacting your ability to perform your job effectively and suggest potential solutions.


  • It may also be helpful to have an open and honest conversation with your supervisor for greater perspective and exploration of possible options of managing the workload.

It has been said that those who complain about being assigned a lot of work limit their career growth by doing so. When should I raise a concern if my work is too much? Or should I not?

One of the fundamental components of career growth is the ability to effectively take on new responsibilities and challenges. While it can be beneficial to take on additional work, too much of it can have negative consequences on one’s productivity, mental health, and job satisfaction. It is therefore essential for individuals to develop the ability to recognise the threshold beyond which workload would become overwhelming.

Increased workload can have both positive and negative effects on one's career growth. On one hand, taking on more challenges can help you develop new skills, gain valuable experience, and showcase your ability to effectively multitask and handle pressure. On the other hand, besides exhaustion, excessive workload could inflict irreparable dents on your physical and mental health, which would in turn impede your career growth.

So, when should you raise a concern about overwhelming workload? In some cases, it may be appropriate to raise the concern immediately, especially if the workload is causing you undue stress and impacting your ability to complete tasks. In other cases, it may be more suitable to wait until the end of a project to raise the concern, as this would provide a more complete picture of any adverse impact of the workload.

It is however crucial to approach the situation in a constructive and professional manner. You should be prepared to provide specific examples of how your workload is impacting your ability to perform your job effectively and suggest potential solutions. It may also be helpful to have an open and honest conversation with your supervisor for greater perspective and exploration of possible options of managing the workload.

In the meantime, be proactive about managing your workload and prioritise tasks to ensure that you are focusing on the most critical responsibilities. Setting realistic goals and deadlines, delegating tasks where possible, and communicating effectively with colleagues and your supervisor could also help to alleviate the discomfort of being overwhelmed. There is a difference between raising legitimate concerns about overwhelming workload and complaints attributable to indolence. 

HR Practitioner

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