Respectfully saying no to a request to work longer hours

Posted on: August 24, 2008

Most employees are struggling to say ‘no’ to work for longer hours. Working longer means you have to sacrifice your time with your family and friends and also your freedom and independence. It is usually not an easy decision more so when the deal is lucrative but it’s you who have to prioritize and decide what comes first for you family or work. If you are ready to say ‘no’ to a request for working overtime, be polite and gentle while you are refusing and justify it with a rock solid reason. Don’t criticize anyone for offering you this proposition and let the other person save face.

Explain your reasons for denial in full length and tell them that you have come to this conclusion only after much deliberation and you regret every bit of it. Tell them how important and dear your independence is to you or justify it with a family issue like someone’s ill health or your need to complete your education along with work. Such issues do melt a heart and you can get through smoothly. There are a lot of people in the company who will put their interests before yours and try to get you to accept that. But when the ball is in your court, be firm in your decision and don’t waver on convincing, however at the same time be calm and polite when you put forward your view points. If you are nervous to face your employer face to face, then draft a letter addressed to him elaborating on your reasons to say ‘no’. Just make sure that you are ready to give them an answer when they come your way. Long working hours can cause health problems too. It can also damage your family life simultaneously as most parents are forced to juggle a long, grueling work life with a hectic home life. Employers must recognize how much better it is for the business to work smarter rather than longer.


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August 2008
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