Dear Job Doctor, What to do if my manager pushes more responsibilities and expands the scope of activities due to staff reduction?

This is a very pertinent question in the current climate, where either roles have been cut or a hiring freeze is now in place.

The firms who have cut roles or frozen recruitment when the workload was already high and additional staff were required are now facing serious issues.

My team and I are a good barometer of staff satisfaction, often before companies are aware.

On many occasions we see an influx of CVs from one organisation and more often from one division or team within the organisation. The most common reason today for employees to change employers is due to additional responsibilities and a higher workload when the employee was already at capacity.

Working from home is also not a rosy situation for many who are working much longer hours and are also balancing family responsibilities.


Request a formal meeting with your manager and discuss the issues you are facing, be factual and be prepared to provide concrete examples, such as the extra hours you are undertaking is having an impact on your family or a client is becoming increasingly unsatisfied with the pace in which you can respond to requests. Keep your approach positive and constructive. Keep the meeting to a discussion and not a demand.

It is worth considering giving your manager the benefit of doubt, as you may not have all the facts, and possibly behind the scenes your manager has been campaigning for additional resources for his/her team. If this is the case it would be prudent to ask for a timeframe as to when to expect additional resources, if your manager cannot provide this, it is worth considering your own time limit well before you risk your heath and/or family issues.

If you are still not satisfied with the lack of action and depending on your understanding of the company’s internal politics, you could consider speaking with your manager’s superior and the HR department for advice.

If you believe that things will not change in time to protect your well-being, maybe it is the right opportunity to find an alternative employer. I would advise you not to quit without first securing another position. If you can, take a moment to reflect, speak to a confident and discuss if it is the right decision to make. Remember there is always an element of risk with changing jobs, just make sure it’s a calculated one.

For employers and HR professionals

If you recognise your current employees’ workload is too high, please make changes. This is one of the most common requests for a change of employer, those who are left have an even higher workload and there is a decrease in the chance of attracting new staff.

As you know, this is a serious issue and many experts believe that almost 50% of employees who develop stress or depression, leading to a burnout, do so as a direct impact of a higher workload.

Darren Robinson is the Managing Partner at Anderson Wise, an independent local recruitment firm in Luxembourg.