How To Say No When Work Calls You In?

Indeed, office work never ends. Especially, if the office is smaller and your boss knows you well. You must be thinking ‘What if my boss considers me negligent towards work? What if my peers judge me? What if it affects my promotion, appraisals, incentives, etc?’ Forcing yourself towards more work may affect your health and performance. Let us know ‘How To Say No When Work Calls You In?’.

How To Say No When Work Calls You In?

To say no when work calls you in, you must:

  • Understand the request. Get authentic and confident.
  • Explain yourself in short and set your boundaries.
  • Do not lie or give silly reasons.
  • Do not feel guilty. Instead, offer solutions.

Methods To Say No When Work Calls You In

The following methods will help you to say no when work calls you in:

Understand The Request

Do not directly land on a refusal. Understand what the request is about, its importance/priority, deadline, and benefits from that task. Instead of missing the unseen benefits by directly saying ‘no,’ you may shuffle the priorities or ask your colleague to help you. However, do not expect them to help you throughout the task even if they promise so. So, decide wisely.


“I will be busy with another task for a day. I would appreciate it if a colleague helps me with the task for that day.”

Explain Yourself. Do Not Give Silly Reasons

Do not get rude by saying ‘no’ without explaining yourself. Explain the reason for rejecting the request within two or three lines. No need to provide every detail. However, inform them how long will you remain unavailable (whether you will not do this task this time or forever).

Do not lie to your boss as you may really get stuck in such a situation in the future. Finally, it may represent you as an insincere employee.


“I apologize as I cannot get available today. I am already caught up with a lot of work today.”

Be Authentic And Confident

Your boss may ask you the same again, though he/she must not. But, stay firm on your answer. Otherwise, you may become an easy target for further tasks and make it harder for you to say ‘no’ to further requests. However, do not get rude. Similarly, do not fall prey to your boss’s threats or manipulation.


“I respect your request, but as mentioned before, I cannot take the task over.”

Set Your Boundaries

Let your boss and colleagues know about your availability and skills. Thus, they will not take you for granted every time. It provides a rational reason and they may look at the issue from your point of view.


“I assessed the request and found out that it does not fit into my contracted schedule. I would be thankful if you accept my refusal for this task.” 

Work Hard When You Return

You cannot take the work for granted like your boss cannot do the same. Get ready to complete your work when you return if the company requires your help. Inform your boss about the same when you say ‘no’ to the call for work. But, do not work till you reach a breaking point and try to maintain the work-life balance.


“I cannot work for two days. But, I will start/resume with the work from the third day when I come back.”

Offer Solutions

You must be aware that you cannot walk away from the tasks irresponsibly. Suggest possible alternate solutions to complete the task. It shows that you care for your work even if you cannot be present there.


“Nathalie has worked on a similar project. So, I would recommend her name if the project is the topmost priority. Otherwise, I am ready to work on it tomorrow even if it takes one hour more.”

No Need To Feel Guilty

You get bound to work for the scheduled hours. But, you are not to do so afterward. Thus, go through the above steps and ensure that do not give silly reasons. No need to feel guilty if you have a genuine one. Moreover, you are not responsible to look after everything at the workplace.


“Unfortunately, I cannot work after the scheduled hours as I will get busy with another personal task.”

Things To Do To Say No

Follow the following methods to say no:

  • Make Everything Clear

Do not assume anything. Make everything clear before ending the conversation regarding your refusal of the extra work. Avoid saying ‘maybe.’ Even if you promise to complete the work afterward, stay confident and fulfill the promise.

  • Know What Will Happen If You Say No

You may lose an extra penny, increment, incentive, appraisal, or promotion if you say no. You have the right to prioritize other tasks over these benefits. However, you must calculate what you lose and earn after refusing to work more.

  • Practice

You may write the points you want to tell your boss while saying ‘no.’ Read them and ensure that they do not sound wrong. This method helps you to send your message confidently and clearly.

Things Not To Do To Say No

The following are the things that you must not do to say no:

  • No Comparison Required

Do not get ready to work more only because others are doing so as you may end up producing negative outcomes. Everyone has a different capacity and lifestyle. An employee with a family may decide to refuse, whereas the one with no family may get ready to take on more work.

  • Do Not Get Rude

Do not type the message in capital letters you want to send to your boss as it may sound rude. Similarly, do not get rude if your boss scolds, threatens, or asks you the same repeatedly. Otherwise, it may affect all the remaining chances of accepting you back to work.


26% of people end agree to work more though they cannot. If you frequently get unexpected calls for work, there must be a lack of resources or the boss must be taking you for granted. You have the right to refuse the request for extra work. However, communicate your points effectively and land on a final thought.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is Work-Life Balance?

Work-life balance occurs when you work only for the scheduled hours and do not take the work or stress home. Every employee must have time for relaxation apart from work.

  1. What Is The Disadvantage Of Constantly Accepting To Work More?

Your boss and colleagues may start expecting you to do more work every time. You may also find it difficult to say no in the future.

  1. What Time Do I Notify My Absence?

The moment you decide, you must notify your absence to your boss and the colleagues involved in your project. It depicts professionalism and helps them plan their schedule.

  1. Can My Boss Threaten Me If I Do Not Work After The Scheduled Hours?

He/She may threaten you, but he/she should not. You have the right to say no to extra work. However, do not get rude and get ready to compromise someday. Refusing every time creates a negative image.

How To Say No When Work Calls You In?

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