Human Resources News & Insights

Buried in work? 3 tips when asking colleagues for help

Between the flood of emails constantly coming in and a never ending to-do list, it’s no surprise that plenty of people are completely overwhelmed at work. 

And a lot of stress could be eased by asking colleagues for help … but almost no one wants to admit defeat or impose on others.

Making a clear request

But studies have shown that the majority of people are more than willing to lend a hand – you just have to ask.

Harvard Business Review recently shared three things you should do that’ll make it a little easier to ask for help:

1. Think about what you need. One thing that prevents people from asking for help is confusion over what exactly to ask for. Take a minute to sit down and think about everything you need to get done. Select tasks that someone else could do without significant instruction or supervision, and that would provide the most relief to you.

2. Ask for what you need very clearly. People tend to be uncomfortable asking for help, which can result in vague requests. Saying, “Would you like to” or “If you have time” can make the task seem optional. Clearly state what you need and by when. Also, ensure the colleague you’re asking can actually do what you need them to.

3. Accept what’s offered. If someone doesn’t have the time or know how to do what you need, they still might be able to help. For example, your colleague may not be able to complete the task you need, but they might be able to help direct you toward who can. This will ultimately allow you to accomplish your goal, so remember to be flexible when accepting the type of help you’re offered.

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