How to Say No at Work (Because Saying Yes Isn’t Always Possible)

For most people, saying “no” at work isn’t something that comes naturally.  

You know that saying “yes” to a new project, responsibility, or idea is generally a good way to earn the appreciation and attention of your boss. However, while there are plenty of things that you might say yes to in your career, there are also times when you’ll need put the brakes on a request.  

When you’re too busy, too overwhelmed, or you feel that the project isn’t right for your skill set, it’s important to know how you can say “no” to people you work with in a way that’s both diplomatic, and productive.   

The way you phrase your ‘no’ and the things that you do demonstrate your engagement to your boss and can have a significant impact on how people perceive you. The trick is to find out how you can adjust your responses to get the results you need, without having to say the word “no”.  


Step 1: Assess the Request 

Before you start thinking about how to say “no” to the people in your office, it’s worth thinking carefully about the request, and what it could mean for your future. Consider the things that you already have on your plate, and ask yourself whether priorities can be shuffled around, or whether you might be able to ask a colleague to help you.  

Sometimes, making the extra effort to say yes, even when you’re feeling a little snowed under, can be a great way to open the door to new opportunities in your profession. Evaluate all the different workarounds you might be able to use before you settle on that solid “no, thank you.” 

Step 2: Offer a Lifeline 

If you’ve considered all the options, and you need to say no, then show your company leaders that you care about their needs by offering alternative solutions. For example: 

  • If you don’t have enough time to take on another task, consider asking whether the deadline can be extended while giving your boss an insight into some of the other challenges you have piling up on your plate. This could help you come to a solution that suits both of you.
  • If you feel that you’re not right for the project, suggest a colleague who you believe has the right skill set. Offer to work with your colleague provided they lead giving you the opportunity to learn in a supporting role.  This shows initiative, and could also mean that you don’t have quite as much weight on your shoulders.
  • If you don’t agree with the approach your business is taking, offer a different solution. For instance, say “How about we do this instead…”. Back up your suggestion with facts and information based on what you know about the situation or client in question.  

Step 3: Ask for Help 

No matter your position or career choice, there’s likely to be a time in your future when you’re asked to tackle a project that you just don’t feel capable of handling.

However, asking for a little help to get you through a difficult task, could be a great way to make sure that you give your boss a favourable impression of your work ethic while embracing new skills for your future 

If you’re not sure how to handle something alone, then don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether that means asking your boss to help you prioritise your time, or turning to one of your fellow team-members for guidance using a new piece of software, or strategy.

Decide out what you need to excel in the current situation, then ask for it.  

Step 4: Be Clear and Straightforward 

If, after some careful assessment, you still feel that saying “no” is the right course of action, the best thing you can do is be honest about your situation, and your reasoning. Holding back and refusing to tell your boss what’s really bothering you about a new opportunity, could lead to further frustration when your team leader tries to find a solution to your problem.  

To avoid unnecessary issues, be candid about what has prompted you to say no. If your reasoning is challenged, make sure that you stick to your message, and stay clear about your concerns.

For instance, if you’re worried about not having enough time for a new task, you could say: “I wouldn’t be able to do a good job with my current schedule, and that means my other projects would suffer too.”

Step 5: Adjust Your Expectations  

Finally, even if you’ve followed the steps outlined above carefully, it’s important to be prepared for a negative response.

Sometimes, the colleague, client, or executive that you’re saying “no” to won’t be happy with your response. However, most of the time, this won’t mean that you’re burning bridges for your future. Focus on maintaining a professional attitude, and remember that you can’t please everyone. 


Resource On Demand is Europe’s first specialist Salesforce Recruitment Company. We assist the world’s leading organisations to grow their technology teams. Supporting companies to fill roles that span across digital marketing, marketing automation, Human Capital Management, CRM system management, software testing and Salesforce.

The team at Resource On Demand have access to an extensive database of key talent, registering over 8000 professionals each year. To find out how we can support you call us on +44 20 8123 7769 or

The Easy Ways To Deal With Overwhelm At Work

The world of employment can be overwhelming and stressful sometimes – even if you love your job. We’re all dealing with many professional and personal pressures that make managing the chaos of everyday life increasingly complicated. When you combine your worries at home with impending project deadlines and uncooperative co-workers, it can feel as though succeeding in your business role is impossible.  

The good news is that you don’t simply have to “put up” with the stress. Rather than ignoring your feelings and pressing your nose further to the grindstone, it makes sense to create a strategy that might help you to reach your goals with fewer problems. Here, we’ll cover just some of the steps that you can take to banish overwhelm from your life, and regain control over your career.  

Have a Plan 

When it feels like you’ve got far too much to do, taking the time to step back and think strategically can seem a little counterproductive. However, planning could ensure that the rest of your time at work is far more efficient.  

Begin by writing down what you need to do for the day or the week, and figure out which order you should be completing tasks in. You’re sure to find some things more important than others, and this will help you to stop thinking about how you’re going to fit everything in.  

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, only stopping for a second and taking the opportunity to breathe and evaluate can give you a lot of much-needed power over the situation. Remember to prioritise your tasks, and accomplish them one at a time. Multitasking is never an effective way to get things done. 

Give Yourself a Break 

Stress can be a huge detriment to your work life. When you’re spending all of your time in the office panicking about what you need to get done, you don’t have any space left to focus on the challenges at hand. Stress closes the creative part of the brain, damages our cognitive processes, and even disrupts our perception of time, so we feel like we’re losing minutes faster.  

Although it’s hard to tear yourself away from your desk while the demands are piling up, taking some time out to relax can be an excellent way to lighten the burden. While it’s tempting to work without breaks, the reality is that you can only accomplish so much before your brain needs a little rest and rejuvenation.  

If nothing else, spend about five minutes walking around the outside of your building. The fresh air can do wonders for clearing your head and reducing your anxiety levels.  

Speak to Someone 

Sometimes, all you need to do to help yourself cope with a stressful professional situation is to say your concerns out loud. Speak to someone about the issues you’re facing, and see whether their input can give you a new perspective on the problems at hand.  

Ideally, you’ll want to talk to someone  who will only listen to whatever you have to say. Sometimes, the ideal partner will be a co-worker, who knows exactly what it’s like to deal with similar problems in your industry. In other circumstances, you might even feel comfortable talking to your manager about the problems you’re having, and the things you might need help handling.  

If you do decide to speak to your line manager, make sure that you don’t come across as though you’re complaining about too much responsibility. Instead, say something like: “I feel like I have a lot to cope with right now, and was wondering if you had any guidance on how to tackle it all?” 

Look After Yourself 

It’s hard to produce your best work if you’re not caring for your mind and body. A lot of people who feel overwhelmed at work end up pushing themselves to work constant twelve-hour days or continuing to work on projects at the weekend because they feel they have too much to do; unfortunately, this rarely ends well.  

If you’re sitting in front of your computer, too exhausted to concentrate, and too stressed to sleep, then you’re still not accomplishing anything positive. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to procrastinate. At the same time, exhaustion makes your worries feel bigger and more significant than they really are; which can lead into sending yourself into “panic” mode.  

Give yourself some rest, and make sure that you get minimum hours of sleep every night – no matter how much work you have to do.


Know Your Triggers 

Finally, when you’re feeling overwhelmed with your professional role, it’s important to know exactly which factors are pushing you to the brink. For instance, do you feel like you’re getting too many assignments to handle, or is your boss making you feel overly pressured? If you know what causes the brunt of your concern, you can begin to act and fight back against your nerves.  

Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings to help pinpoint which issues could be causing your unhappy feelings. Once you’ve figured out what’s affecting your mood, you’ll be able to speak to your boss about changes you need to make.  


About Resource On Demand 

Resource On Demand is Europe’s first specialist Salesforce Recruitment Company. We assist the world’s leading organisations in growing their technology teams. Supporting companies to fill roles that span across digital marketing, marketing automation, Human Capital Management, CRM system management and, Salesforce developer, Salesforce consultant and Salesforce admin jobs. 

The team at Resource On Demand have access to an extensive database of key talent, registering over 8000 professionals each year. To find out how we can support you call us on +44 (0)20 8123 7769