Solutions for Lessening the Workplace Burden

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During the recession several companies, in an effort to stay afloat, went through the unfortunate and painful process of lay-offs, which isn’t easy for the employer or employees. That being said, the employees that remained at any given company after those cuts naturally took on more responsibility to compensate for the fact that there was less staff to do the work, most for little or no extra compensation. Sound familiar? If so, an article on The Wall Street Journal’s website titled, “How to Ease Your Workload” might help.

The article begins, “Given all of the work that has been piled on employees at leanly staffed companies during the weak economy, it’s understandable that some workers want to scale back.

Almost four in 10 workers say one of the most important attributes they will look for in a new employer is a less-stressful work environment, besides competitive pay and benefits, according to a survey of more than 5,000 workers and 2,000 employers conducted in February and March by jobs website CareerBuilder.com.

But with unemployment still high, employees may be wary about talking to their boss about working less…. To some extent, employers know there’s an issue. In December, CareerBuilder.com asked more than 2,000 employers if productivity levels could last this year, and 16% said: ‘No, workers are already burned out.’”

So if working less isn’t an option and your work environment will most likely remain just as stressful for some time, what can you do? Fear not. There’s help for that too.

“Ideally, workers should talk with their bosses before problems erupt. And calmness is key, experts say. ‘Do it at a time when you are not highly emotional,’ Ms. Kay says. ‘Don’t go into the boss’s office and scream or yell.’ Do go in with suggestions for how you can scale back yet still get your work accomplished, she says.

You want to offer solutions to your dilemma that will benefit your employer as well as you. You don’t want to come across as creating a bigger burden.

If your employer’s finances have rebounded somewhat, use that fact to strengthen your argument. Read the company’s press releases and financial statements and talk to co-workers, Mr. Myers says.

When discussing ways to reduce your workload, be upfront and make it clear that you don’t want to perform the job of more than one worker on a long-term basis, says Joel Garfinkle, an Oakland, Calif.-based executive coach.”

And if that’s still not enough- if lessening the workload isn’t possible, ask to be compensated for the extra work.

“Your company may not be able to lighten your workload. If that’s the case, you should ask to be properly compensated, says Jason Levin, district manager for career website Vault.com. Present all of your recent accomplishments and detail all of the extra work you’ve taken on.

‘Be very clear that you are willing to take on extra responsibility, but that if there is a merit increase or a performance bonus you want to be considered for those’ in return, Mr. Levin says. ‘That has to be clear from the very beginning. You are in charge of communicating your own expectations.’

But tact is important, he says. Workers should show that they understand the tough economic situation facing the company.”

Of course there is no guarantee that your request will be warmly received, the article stresses to not forget- “‘Put yourself in the shoes of your boss, who is probably also under a lot of pressure and stress,’ Mr. Levin says. ‘Reiterate your commitment to the organization’s success.’”

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About Kate Gamble

Known to have her hands in a ton of things at one time - Kate is a confessed news junkie and proud Dean’s List grad. Whether she’s working the PR or HR side of her brain, her computer’s mouse or her Dremel (she makes handcrafted jewelry too!), Kate delivers the energy, commitment, and detail-orientation that are a perfect mix for Alstin.