At last — the right way to complain about being overworked

Life has been tumultuous the last few years and being overworked as one result affected many, with various negative outcomes. Many people have been dealing with significant economic uncertainty due to the pandemic. If you were one of these people who had your work life changed around, you might wonder if this is the new normal or how you get back to that.

Longer workdays have been one thing that some people are dealing with. This can be stressful if you aren’t used to the added work. However, after weighing the pros and cons of longer workdays, you can complain about being overworked without causing a big stir. You just have to do it in the right way.

Changes in the workforce and workplace

Many changes have occurred in the last few years in the workforce and workplace. These changes may not have affected everyone, but chances are you have been impacted by at least one.

When the pandemic struck, many people had to start working from home either full- or part-time. To get an idea of how much we have changed to doing remote work, we can look at pre- and post-pandemic numbers. Prior to the pandemic, only 6% of the U.S. population worked primarily from home.

In May 2020, this number had risen to more than one-third of the population. In 2021, 38% of Americans did some or all of their work from home, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

People may be working longer when doing remote work. This can be either beneficial or negative to your life.

Benefits of longer workdays

One of the obvious benefits of having a longer workday is you might make more money. However, if you’re on salary pay, you get one set amount, no matter how many hours you work. Hourly workers may like the longer workday because of the added pay.

You will also get better at your job the more you work at it. Your skills and expertise will develop during this time, which can lead you further up the career path.

Finally, if you’ve been putting in more hours each day, you may have a better chance of getting a raise when your boss gives them out.

Negative effect of longer workdays

When you work remotely, you may tend to work more. One of the consequences of working from home is you never get away from work. Without realizing it, you may inadvertently work more hours. It can be easy for your boss to expect more from you since the work is all right there. Even when you get back into the office, your boss may expect the same amount of time.

Longer workdays also have negative effects. Some of these include:

  • Stress from the added workload
  • Tiredness from too many hours
  • Less time with family and friends
  • Depression because you have less social time
  • Burnout from being overworked
  • Getting too many projects put on you (since you’re always “at work”)

Tips on how to complain about being overworked

Negative effects on your mental well-being can take a toll on your physical health too. It’s best to have a good work-life balance for optimal health. If you feel your life is out of balance because work is taking up too much of your time, you may need to step up and talk to your boss. These tips can help you do it in a way that is tactful yet assertive:

Be direct

The best way to communicate with your boss is to be direct and transparent. Don’t try to sugarcoat the situation or hide your true feelings about being overworked. If you do, there’s a good chance your feelings will come out another way, which may not be pleasant. You can be direct while also being polite and respectful.

You can have boundaries in your work life without fear of reprisals from your boss. Besides, the company won’t want to lose you if you’re doing quality work. Also, most bosses know the detriment of burnout.

Offer solutions

Be prepared with solutions to the workload problem if there is one. If cutting back your hours will cause the company to be shorthanded, you can have an alternative plan to help out. For example, you could have a plan to complete certain projects more efficiently. Or you could delegate some responsibilities to other staff members. Of course, you’d have to get your manager’s approval for this, but it’s worth discussing the possibilities.

Another solution may be to prioritize some projects and put others off until later. That might buy you some time right now, at least. You might feel more refreshed in six months or a year.

Solicit feedback from others

Discuss your need for a reprieve from the longer workdays with others in the workplace. They may be able to offer feedback that you hadn’t considered. It’s also helpful to bounce your ideas off another colleague before going to the manager. Sometimes another person’s input can give you the boost you need to advance. It might give you the courage to step up and say what needs to be said.

Stay positive

When you talk to your manager, stay upbeat. You don’t want to go into your boss with a defeated attitude or as if you can’t go on. Be honest about your needs but show positivity about the ability to resolve things. Remember, you are bringing viable solutions to the table. So, you can have a positive mindset going into the meeting.

Following this guide can help you avoid longer workdays known to produce burnout.