How to gracefully ask your colleague to share your workload

21st Jul 2016
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Today, many people feel like they take up more work than they can handle. They feel like they work two or even three jobs instead of just the one that they have. A heavy workload can be tiring, and more often than not, it can drive you to work for longer hours than you would really like to. This means that you lose out on significant leisure time. The sense of loss of control that results from overwork can further add to your stress. In such times, your co-workers can come to your rescue.

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But, there’s a particular way to approach this and get a colleague to work with you. These steps should help you out:

Step 1: Approach your boss first

It is always better to take things through an official route rather than informally approach your co-worker yourself. Ask your boss if the co-worker who works on tasks similar to yours can share your work load. Your approach matters. Make sure you don’t give your boss the impression that you are trying to avoid your tasks and dumping them on someone else for your own convenience. For example, don’t start your discussion by saying “I have too much work.” Your boss has a lot more work than you do, so this is hardly a valid excuse.

Instead, start your discussion with “I know my priority is to achieve ‘so and so’ target for the next couple of months. But, I am also required to finish off this task. Is it possible for me to split this work with another colleague so that it can be finished within the allotted time?”

Step 2: Approach your co-worker

After getting through your boss, it’s time to talk to your colleague. If you share a collaborative relationship with this individual, do pitch in their name to your boss or superior. Let your superior decide which of your colleagues should be selected. It might be possible that they, too, are loaded with work. You can then approach your colleague and say something like, “I see we have similar responsibilities here, would you mind if we split the work between us? It won’t take a lot of your time, and we can pick out a day when both of us can sit together and work on this.”

Step 3: Reminders

Your colleague has been nice enough to take up the responsibility of sharing your tasks with you because they like you or have been asked by your superior to do so. Now, make it a point to politely pass them reminders about the pending work. You can simply sync your Google reminders or ASANA notifications to keep each other updated of the deadline and pending sub tasks to be completed.

Asking for a colleague to help you share your work might be a cause for concern for some. There is always the chance that your boss many not approve of that there may not be any colleagues who will be able to take on additional work. But, if the subject is opened in the right manner, your boss and colleague wouldn’t mind helping you out. But it’s important to do this politely and being aware of office etiquette.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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