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7 Excuses Why Coworkers Offload Their Work On You, And How To Deal With Them.

7 Excuses Why Coworkers Offload Their Work On You, And How To Deal With Them.

"Tired of being the perpetual problem-solver? Learn to navigate coworker challenges with strategies like setting boundaries, delegating wisely, and documenting tasks. Collaborate for a balanced work environment, but if reciprocity fails, reconsider future engagements. Discover more in our blog!"

James Mason profile image
by James Mason


Are you sick and tired of coworkers heaping tasks on you while conveniently sidestepping their responsibilities? You may have extended a helping hand once, but now it feels like you've inadvertently become the go-to person for an endless stream of tasks that have nothing to do with your job.

There's a variety of colleagues who have mastered the skill of utilising their coworkers to shoulder their workload and somehow get away with it. Here are seven of these skilful work dodgers and how you can handle them the next time you find yourself in their crosshairs.

1. The Non-Meeting Contributor

Some individuals seem to have an uncanny ability to invest countless hours in meetings, only to remain silent, taking no actions whatsoever. Depending on someone like this for assistance, particularly if you're the meeting host or attending alongside them, can add significant pressure. If their sole contribution is a simple "thanks" at the end of the meeting, you might find yourself in a bit of a bind.

2. The Perpetual Out-Of-Office Champion

Dealing with this person can be incredibly exasperating. It always seems that just when you need to reach them to address a crucial matter, they are mysteriously unavailable. Are they perpetually on vacation, consistently out sick, or are they just expertly using the classic "I'm currently travelling and may not have access to my email" excuse?

3. The Plea for You to Host Yet Another Meeting Due to Their Laptop Woes

Whether this individual is a certified technophobe or has the worst luck with technology, the result is the same: they're always running into issues. It becomes particularly inconvenient when they can't host a meeting because of yet another microphone problem with their perpetually troublesome laptop. It seems like every virtual gathering turns into a technological troubleshooting session! Yet again you find yourself hosting the meeting unprepared and painfully trying to bluff your way through it.

4. The Last Minute Culprit

This idiot has a knack for springing surprises at the eleventh hour, leaving you scrambling to pick up the pieces. It's almost as if they thrive on the chaos of last-minute situations, expecting you to swoop in and save the day. Perhaps you've come to their rescue once before, or maybe they wield a bit more influence, occasionally schmoozing with higher-ups even above your boss. It's a classic case of navigating office politics while trying not to get caught in the crossfire of their last-minute escapades. The question is, can you keep up with the unexpected curveballs they consistently throw your way?

5. The "Do Us A Favor" Dilemma

Ah, the classic plea for assistance – "Do us a favour." It's like encountering someone who clung to their stroller well into the double digits because the concept of independent action seemed alien to them. Whether it's pure laziness or a genuine lack of know-how, these individuals find themselves incapable of handling tasks independently. Case in point: they can't even run a simple report for the crucial meeting they've known about for over a month. It's a head-scratcher, really. The audacity of expecting others to swoop in and rescue them from their own lack of initiative is a spectacle in itself. So, get ready to play the hero once again as you navigate the delicate balance between helping out and avoiding becoming the perpetual go-to for every little favour.

6. The "That's Not Within My Job Description" Dilemma

Imagine a situation after weeks of chasing down the elusive individual in the company who supposedly holds the key to resolving the lingering issue that's been causing you endless headaches, you finally corner them. But to your dismay, the response you get is a nonchalant, "It's not my job." It's like hitting a dead end after a long and arduous quest for a solution.

The frustration amplifies when you realise that the person who could potentially assist seems unwilling to step outside the boundaries of their job description. Now you're left grappling with the question of where to turn next and how to navigate the maze of responsibilities within the organization. It's a classic case of hitting a roadblock when you thought you were on the verge of finding a resolution.

7. The Authoritative Boss: "I'm in Charge, and You'll Do as I Say"

Meet the epitome of managerial authority—the boss who believes their word is the ultimate decree. Imagine you're engrossed in a task of utmost importance when the boss declares a new mission that takes precedence over everything else.

It's a classic clash of priorities, and your crucial work suddenly takes a back seat to their urgent demand. Negotiation? Forget about it. This boss doesn't entertain discussions; it's a one-way street. Navigating the waters of a work hierarchy becomes a tricky dance when your own priorities clash with the boss's unilateral decisions. Welcome to the challenge of juggling the expectations of a boss whose decree is the law of the land.

5 Ways To Deal With The Offloaders

1. Set Clear Expectations from the Start

It's crucial to proactively communicate with your colleagues about your existing workload and priorities within the organisation. By doing so, you establish a clear understanding of your role, making it less likely for them to approach you with additional tasks.

While you don't need to broadcast your to-do list to the entire office, selectively informing those who may have sought your assistance ensures they're aware of your job responsibilities. Clearly communicate your own workload and priorities. Let your coworkers know when you have tight deadlines or important projects that require your full attention. Establishing boundaries helps others understand your capacity and reduces the likelihood of unnecessary tasks being offloaded onto you.

2. Just Say No

Sometimes you just have to say no. Being a people pleaser won't get you far in the long run. Don't be afraid to decline a task if you feel that it's not justified for you to carry out given your own workload. Prioritising your own work is the key to your own success. Saying no assertively but diplomatically can be a powerful tool in managing your workload.

3. Leverage Your Position to Delegate

The aspiration to be a workplace hero is admirable, but it's equally important to avoid overwhelming yourself with an excessive workload. If you happen to hold a position of authority, leverage it judiciously to delegate tasks. Showing the skill to share responsibilities not only safeguards against burnout but also earns the respect of your colleagues.

On the flip side, don't hesitate to reach out and communicate when you truly require assistance. This not only shows your transparency and self-awareness but also earns you respect for your balanced approach to managing responsibilities.

4. Record and Communicate

Maintaining a detailed record of your daily and weekly tasks is crucial. If colleagues are consistently shifting their workload onto your plate, having a clear track record becomes essential. This documentation serves as tangible evidence that you can present to your line manager or the HR team when discussing challenges you're facing. It opens the door for necessary support to ensure a fair balance in your work performance. Moreover, this record can be a handy tool when politely declining a coworker's attempt to rope you into doing a quick favour.

5. Collaborate on Solutions

An additional approach to turn the tables in your favour is through collaboration. If a coworker is placing the burden of a task on your shoulders, it's only fair that they reciprocate when the need arises. There might be instances where you find yourself dealing with a complex or technical challenge that your coworker perceives as a simple task.

Learning to collaborate and openly discuss these situations creates a more balanced work environment. If, however, your coworker is unwilling to extend assistance, it might prompt a reconsideration of your support for them in future collaborations. After all, a mutually beneficial working relationship is built on shared responsibilities and a willingness to collaborate.

James Mason profile image
by James Mason

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