What to Do When You Get Lumbered with Someone Else’s Workload

Posted on Thursday, February 10, 2022 by The Workplace AdvisorNo comments

They’ve handed in their notice, you’ve wished them well, and they’ve gone off towards their new adventure. Your leaving colleague seems to merrily skip off into the sunset and you’re now expected to do everything they did. As one of the leading recruitment agencies in London, we know that employers can be very tardy when it comes to filling empty roles, and in the meantime, you’re left carrying the can. It’s a difficult and stressful scenario.

What can you do?

1. Write down your tasks and their tasks

When this happens, the challenge is that you become so busy that you cannot see the wood for the trees. You get on with “doing” without taking a breath.

Instead, stop and list all of your usual tasks, then write a separate list of everything you’re now being asked to take on. Against each, write down how long each task takes you to complete. This quantifies how you use your time.

You’ve now got evidence that you cannot fit what is being asked of you into the time you have. Don’t exaggerate, but make it clear.

2. Schedule a meeting with your boss

Don’t try to catch your boss on the fly—actually book in a meeting with them.

You want to go to this meeting calmly and with your evidence in hand. However, maintain a positive “can-do” attitude, showing that you want to work with them to come up with a solution that is actually practical and doable.

Ask them to look at your evidence and suggest that you both decide which activities should be dropped until the replacement is brought onboard. This helps to focus their mind and see what is reasonable, and potentially work harder to get that replacement! Make sure you know before you go in where your red lines are. For example, how much overtime are you willing to work?

Follow up the decisions of the meeting in writing.

3. Make your own decision

Based on the outcome of the meeting, you’re now armed with information that you can use to determine your next steps.

Perhaps your boss has just proved themselves to be highly collaborative and respectful, and it’s made you feel committed to helping them out as much as possible. Or maybe they were the opposite.

The reality is that this is one of those situations where you likely end up facing the decision of whether to stay or go yourself. If your boss has put you in an untenable position, then you need to be realistic about it.

If there is no leeway and no active recruitment plans, then we highly recommend you put yourself first and consider a new role. You should be respected at work and have a manageable workload, and whilst going above and beyond occasionally is important, doing another entire role indefinitely is not acceptable.

This might be a common problem, but you can decide to move on.

The cascade of resignations

There are many reasons why you tend to get multiple resignations in fairly quick succession in workplaces, but one driving force is that remaining workers get overly put upon. If this has happened to you, we can help you find a new role.


Love Success is a leading London PA & office support recruitment agency.
Our expert recruiters can help you find permanent and temporary jobs in London.

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