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Dos and Don’ts of Saying ‘No’ at Work
Nobody wants to be ostracized at work for not being a team player, but everyone has limits to the amount of work they can handle. Here’s how to turn down work without tarnishing your reputation.

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Turning down work doesn’t make you a slacker in the office. Experts say that knowing when to say no at work can boost your efficiency and work quality. Here’s how to prioritize your workload and learn how to say no to overwhelming work.

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Do: Show Your Regret

Be up front with the person and explain to him or her that you can’t fit any more work into your schedule. It’s simple, polite and to the point.

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Do: Offer Alternatives

If you aren’t able to help with a project or problem make some suggestions on who to reach out to or where to look for resources. It will show you care and are still a team player.

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Don’t: Go on a Guilt Trip

You can’t always help everyone so don’t go on a guilt trip for not being able to help out a co-worker—you will just waste more time.

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Do: Take a Second

Even if you know your answer will be ‘no,’ don’t rush to respond immediately.  Pause before  you respond to show you are listening and considered the request before passing.

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Don’t: Say Maybe

If you can’t help someone out, don’t string them along. Avoid using words such as “maybe” or “perhaps.” If you can’t do it, just say so.  Being direct is always the best option.

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Do: Explain Your Situation Concisely

When explaining your workload—focus on your worry about producing less-quality work, not quantity.

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Don’t: Hide

Don’t avoid a coworker after turning him down.  When you get a chance, follow up with him and find out if he was able to solve the problem or get help.  It shows you care and would have helped if you able.

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Dos and Don’ts of Saying ‘No’ at Work

Nobody wants to be ostracized at work for not being a team player, but everyone has limits to the amount of work they can handle. Here’s how to turn down work without tarnishing your reputation.

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