I am in a management role, where I have accepted a new role at a new company and serving my notice period. The work-load is very heavy which can be stressful and high-pressured. I am quite unsettled right now, changing roles etc and subsequently losing motivation.

In my last role (non management - developer), this was not the case, the work load gradually decreased over the course of the notice period. Is piling on the work once someone is leaving normal practice?

  • 50
    Company and individual specific...
    – Kilisi
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 9:53
  • 10
    Only you can tell if the work pile-up is a normal closing of urgent unfinished tasks/projects or if there's a capricious, abusive element to it. However, the more responsibility you had, the more work will need to be closed. The most important thing, however, is to maintain a good relationship with coworkers, reports, and bosses. You can do this without accepting an abusive workload.
    – teego1967
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 10:30
  • 6
    @corsiKa that's the attitude US companies love: workers who think they owe the company their lives, while the companies won't hesitate to outsource or just plain lay off workers and dump the extra load on those remaining. Bad attitude. Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 17:27
  • 2
    @corsiKa No, you owe them a correct effort in line with your compensation. Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 19:04
  • 4
    @CarlWitthoft I don't understand why you insist on belittling someone with a work ethic. Why would you purposefully do less than you are capable? And why would you take a job where you are compensated for less than your best? And you called my attitude of "if we're getting paid, we should continue to deserve that pay" a bad attitude? Outrageous!
    – corsiKa
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 19:25

5 Answers 5


The load may be heavy because of project state. However, unless a replacement is found, you will be expected to bear it. Once your replacement comes in, then you may offload a part of work to him/her, however the responsibility still lies with you unless your replacement is trained.

You are being paid full salary on notice period. Then organization should also get full output.

Not working/ expecting a light workload just because you are in notice period is, in my personal opinion, unprofessional. As long as you are on board the organization, you should give it your best, irrespective of if it's your first day or last day.

The world is a small place. If you don't work well in your notice period, people will notice. This can harm your chances of coming back to the organization in the future. And who knows, someone senior or from HR from this organization may change to some other place where you are interviewing in the future. A good reference can be lost by trying not to give 100% during notice period.

Since you have been promoted, sounds like you have spent sometime in the organization. Would you like to give up all the good will you have earned just because you have some extra work during notice period?

  • 46
    This isn't bad advice but it should be noted that there are companies that take advantage of outgoing employees or at the very least don't plan hand-offs well enough that it puts unrealistic strain on the associate. This is good advice within reason.. but the end of the work day should be the end of the work day. Putting in a 60 hour week on your last week is just as unreasonable as floating by doing the bare minimum.
    – user48276
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 13:51
  • 2
    Incorporating the gist of @Dank's comment into the answer would make it even better. That is, somebody might have expected a gradual exit, somebody else might have expected constant workload till the last day; the best answer should be applicable to both cases because the OP isn't directly saying either. Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 14:17
  • 12
    Related to DanK's comment: My last job suddenly wanted 50 hour work weeks, and no lunch breaks (catered, but still), during my notice period - the reasoning being they were in a crunch period, which they'd been in for a very long time due to poor management. Needless to say, I didn't oblige their request. You owe them nothing more than what's in your contract, so put yourself and your mental health first. Go into your new role with a clear head. Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 15:34
  • 1
    I love the word "unprofessional". It means so many things to so many people. I wouldn't think someone unprofessional for taking it easy in the last few weeks of a contract. I'd not go in a minute early, nor stay a minute late, no matter what. I'd do nothing over and above exactly what was in my contract. No favours etc. No, the world is not a small place; not in this context anyway. And you'd be deranged to consider not employing an otherwise great person because of concerns they'd not work very hard during their notice period; your time would be better spent making them not want to leave!
    – bye
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 6:59
  • 1
    This is probably coming from a manager. -1 bad advice.
    – JonH
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 13:51

Is it normal to have heavy work load during notice period?

In my experience when someone is taking a new position and working their notice, it is not un-common for the current team to get as much productivity from the person as possible.

Since you are leaving the company, there is no reason for you to work yourself to death as you are moving on. Do your best while you are there, but there is no need for you at this point to work extra hours or extra hard.

  • 8
    Fully agree... IMO the majority of work done during this period should be focused on documentation and hand-off of projects. A notice period is meant to be a turnover period. If the OP is picking up new duties someone is taking advantage of them.
    – user48276
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 13:54
  • @DanK I disagree. Smart companies don't deal out new duties to employees on notice. If I am given new duties (whether on notice or not) I am going to do my best. If I need a 5 hour technical review meeting to nail down specs, I am going to ask for it. Considering that I am leaving soon and my replacement will probably ask for that same technical meeting, do you really want to assign me that duty? cause I am OK if you don't.
    – emory
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 0:37

There is no definitive "right" answer - it's totally dependent on the individual circumstances at the time. I've known people that have had essentially nothing to do during their notice periods whereas my last three have all had me working flat out (and beyond) until almost the very end due to project state and the need to hand things over. At my last perm role I was flat out until <30 mins before I was due to leave - I was even late to my own leaving presentation as a result!

As Rishi talks about in his answer there's plenty of good reasons to stay professional and keep on working away during a notice period and to be honest it's not that onerous to do so.

  • 1
    Sure there is, mine.
    – Neo
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 16:13
  • 3
    @MisterSortofPositive yours is only sort of right. ;-)
    – enderland
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 16:16

It's not uncommon, but the reasons vary.

  • Clearing the deck: A mad rush to get everything done to give themselves some space to get the next person in
  • Wrapping things up: Make sure that everything you're involved in is finished
  • Punative: Some companies DO get offended and will make you work to the very last second:
  • Business as usual Some companies just continue on until you're replaced.

It could be any one, a combination of, or none of the above, but a heavy workload on the way out is not unheard of.

  • While the punitive reason is not guaranteed to exist for a particular company, those that are inclined to be punitive may also then gripe that you left because you couldn't handle the workload. I once observed a coworker that watched their workload triple in their last two weeks, a manager that complained to a reference checker that the employee couldn't keep up with the workload, and a HR rep / legal team scramble to undo the damage. If the employee didn't have 5+ years at the same position, then the manager's statements would have had more weight.
    – Edwin Buck
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 16:30

It is not so strange if you had an important role that the company wants to make sure they are ready to handle that you are not there when you have moved on. Therefore try and interpret it as a compliment and not as a punishment.

  • 2
    An interesting perspective...its up to the OP to throttle the output.
    – Neo
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 13:17
  • @MisterPositive it sure is. But the most interesting fellas rarely understand that kind of pressure. Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 21:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .