11 Negative Effects of a Heavy Workload

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There always needs to be a fine line between work and life. There should be a balance between them. However, sometimes, employees go beyond time and limits and work too hard. And one of the leading causes of working overtime is the heavy workload.

The heavy workload is a serious issue because it takes a substantial toll on the employees and the company. Gradually, it invites more problems. Before it becomes too severe, it is crucial to understand its consequences and take the necessary steps.

So, below, we have listed the potential effects of a heavy workload on employees and the organization

11 effects of a heavy workload

Work stress

According to Everest College, 83 percent of workers in the USA suffer from work-related stress. According to Statista, in 2017, 39% of workers said that a heavy workload was their leading cause of stress.

When employees don’t get enough breaks due to heavy workload, it leads to chronic stress, causing burnout. Moreover, it exhausts employees entirely, depleting energy and making them uninterested in working. And in the worst case, it causes mental breakdowns.


Fatigue is normal after work. However, as workload increases, stress rises, and so does tiredness. Continuous working means long hours of work. It means you wake up for hours and hours without any quality sleep and rest. As a result, fatigue starts to kick in. You feel exhausted. You won’t have any energy in your body even to stand up from your current place.

You won’t be able to perform whether you are at home or the workplace. It becomes tough to carry out the everyday chores.

Risk of health problems

The release of cortisol when you are stressed is normal. But what makes it so dangerous is that the increased cortisol levels invite health issues like heart stroke, diabetes, nerve cell breakdown, migraines, cancer, etc.

Note: Cortisol is a primary stress hormone. It controls and regulates sugar levels, metabolism, immune response, etc., in the body. 

Initially, employees experience muscle pain, joint pain, weight loss. Besides, the heavy workload affects employees’ moods and behavior. And it won’t be long before it entirely deteriorates the employees’ health, causing more complications.

Sleep disruption

Too much work can disrupt sleep. And the leading cause of it is stress from the heavy workload, which affected 66% of American workers in 2018. When you have more work to do, it is evident that you will have more pressure mentally. And when it happens, stress increases, and you will have more worries to tackle. Less time, more work, which eventually leads to sleep deprivation.

Moreover, unrealistic deadlines and tight schedules compel employees to go overtime. They push themselves hard to work without taking breaks. As a result, they work for days without getting any quality sleep, affecting their performance, which will be seen in the coming days.

Sourness in personal relationships

According to Korn Ferry, in 2018, 76% of US workers said workplace stress affected their personal relationships.

When you give more time to your work, you won’t be able to spend quality time with your family and friends. It might not matter if it is one or two days. But when you don’t spare time for your closed ones for several days, it will eventually affect your relationships.

You hardly have any time because of the heavy workload. You aren’t spending time with your family. Even if you give time, the fatigue and stress hinder your enjoyment. You will feel more tired and restless. As a result, it affects people around you as well. They don’t enjoy your company as expected.

Moreover, when you don’t give much attention to your partner and your family, satisfaction goes down. And if it is not sorted out correctly and quickly, it ruins your relationships.

Low morale

Continuously working hard and overtime lowers employee morale. Sometimes, not finishing the work on time due to the heavy workload puts pressure on employees. They start to think unnecessarily. What if I don’t complete it on time? What will happen to me, then? Such questions may distract them. Eventually, being under pressure, their confidence level goes down. They don’t perform at their best.

Once the employees’ morale goes down, it becomes challenging for the managers to boost it again. As a result, not only employees, but it affects the company’s performance and revenue.


Miscommunication is another major complication that arises due to the heavy workload. When employees have excessive work, they tend to develop frustrating behavior. Even when a colleague asks for help, they tend to ignore or see it as irritation, so they sometimes raise their voice. Due to work-related pressure, miscommunication occurs. In the worst case, it leads to conflict sometimes, which shouldn’t happen between employees.

Moreover, such behavior affects teamwork, relationships, and most importantly, the working environment. And in the end, the organization pays the price with its productivity and performance.

Poor performance

The deadline is near, and you have lots of unfinished work. In such a situation, to finish the tasks, you speed up. But, in the end, you realize there are tons of errors. The quality isn’t met. This is a common situation that occurs due to the heavy workload.

Mistakes do happen. But, when employees are under pressure due to the heavy workload, they tend to make more errors, and performance goes down. And it is because of fatigue and stress.

According to Colonial Life, 41% of stressed workers say stress leads to a loss in productivity.

Customer dissatisfaction

When the organization’s performance decreases due to employees not performing well, it directly affects customer services. And when customers don’t get quality products and services, it dissatisfies them. They start looking for alternatives. It is common for customers to shift to another brand when they don’t get quality services unless they are loyal.

Before the frustration leads employees to misbehave with the customers, the employees and the company must plan to manage the heavy workload.

Career risk

When employees can’t give their best and don’t perform well due to the heavy workload, frustrations start to dominate them. They make more mistakes, and their performance goes down. And when this happens, they begin to think about their career.

A company always wants its employees to deliver at their best. But, when they fail to fulfill the expectations, their eligibility to the business is at stake.

Affects Organization

When employees don’t perform well, it affects the organization’s performance. Ultimately, it decreases the organization’s overall productivity and revenue.

When employees’ actions damage the company’s goals and objectives, it should implement different plans to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

In Conclusion

Feeling overwhelmed due to the heavy workload is normal. However, if it isn’t addressed quickly, it seriously affects the employees and the organization. If you are looking for ways to handle excessive work, check out How to manage heavy workload at the workplace?

In the end, we would like to add that it is the organization and employee’s responsibility to manage the heavy workload collaboratively.

If you have any suggestions or want to work with us, please feel free to contact us.