Sharing the workload

A friend in need is a friend indeed! This time-honoured philosophy extends to the workplace as well wherein employees should be willing to share each other’s workload and help co-workers whenever needed.

There are always times when some employee may be feeling sick, run down, overburdened or pressurised and be unable to meet a deadline. Someone else may be going through a difficult time and be unable to cope with the workload. Both personal and professional issues can at times sidetrack otherwise dedicated employees and keep them from meeting their work commitments effectively.

Common sense dictates that other colleagues should not just respond positively to requests for assistance but also be willing to lend a helping hand of their own volition. Willingness to share a co-worker’s ‘unmanageable’ work burden by say - splitting some tasks or taking over simple chores - can do a world of good for the beleaguered person. It can help him fulfil his responsibilities more competently and efficiently and may at times, even save his job! Yet, with escalating workloads and the pressure to manage one’s own duties, sharing someone else’s work burden may seem impossible. But some nifty prioritising or sparing an extra hour at the most can literally save the roof from falling in for the other person. Most of the times, just knowing that there are helpful and willing co-workers to fall back on can ease the otherwise seemingly insurmountable stress.

And the icing on the cake is that only when you are willing to assist others, will you be assisted when you face a more-than-hectic schedule or even feel under the weather. Others will also be eager to return the favour and help you out or just make your work easier, making it a win-win situation for all.

And this is where the concept of teamwork originates from - a group of employees that are ready to support and assist each other in times of need.

This mutual association forges a strong bond of cooperation and unity that is essential for building a healthy work environment. The resulting workplace synergy translates into appreciation and empathy for each other’s workloads as well.

Then again, being able to rely on others makes the job satisfying and rewarding for everyone. Employees can recognise that not everyone has strengths in every area and help each other out accordingly. They can learn from each other and build a strong rapport that can even extend beyond the workplace.

Voice of caution

However, there is a fine line between sharing or helping manage the work burden and being used. Do not become a scapegoat and allow others to dump their work on you. Employees are known to take advantage of helpful hands and go on repeated breaks, surf the web, waste time doing nothing or even pretend to be very busy while others are duped into carrying their workload. Try to understand the issue and help only if the cause is genuine.

If you still feel you are being used, it’s better to talk out the issue as the resulting anger, friction and resentment can affect you and others around you as well. Moreover, it can take its toll on the quality of your work too.

Also, do not take on too much as you may not be able to do justice to it anyway. Try to strike the right balance between your own commitments and others’ needs.

At times, some employees may not be willing and open to accept any kind of assistance.

You can try to help in a subtle way; but it is better to back off if things get heated.

To sum up, extending a helping hand when it comes to unbearable workloads works in more ways than one- it is healthy, empathetic and rewarding – all at the same time!

Payal Chanania


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