Frequently, when I am just about to leave my workplace, my co-worker asks me to pass him something that he needs (to do his work) about 5 minutes before work time ends. Sometimes, I do not have it ready at hand. And I do not want to keep him waiting for my work before he can do his.

I will be in a very stressful situation and because of that, I am unable to go home on time.

How do I tell him to let me know earlier what he needs so that I will be able to get it done before work ends and pass it to him?

  • Does your co-worker know your working hours?
    – Bookeater
    Oct 17, 2017 at 1:54
  • 4
    Why don't you simply tell him? The explanation you gave here sounds reasonable and polite.
    – Fildor
    Oct 19, 2017 at 5:32
  • 2
    It does sound like he's doing it on purpose. For you to do a post here about it, it seems that it happens often enough. I would take it up with him and if he continues, maybe even take it up with management. If he's not being a jerk then he's doing his job wrong not being able to consistently predict aspects of his workload - something that the management would also be interested in.
    – Xander
    Oct 19, 2017 at 6:23
  • 3
    This might be a better fit on The Workplace, given that it's purely about interacting with a colleague during working hours.
    – Erik
    Oct 19, 2017 at 6:43
  • 2
    Someone tried to mock me in front of many coworkers cause I was leaving at 17 instead of 18 for him. I did answer "Well, paid 7hoo to work 7hoo, I guess it's pretty fair". Everyone looked at me like "meh, he is right" and the other dude never talked to me since then. What I want you to retain here is that you should not be affraid to decline an order that does not respect your work time. Plus, if the co-worker has no hierarchical power over you, he has no right to give you any order. It is very common that recruit are being mistreated by older coworker, is that your case ?
    – Meow
    Oct 31, 2017 at 11:06

2 Answers 2


How to tell co-worker not to ask me do last minute work?

Take a proactive stance. Be professional. Let him know. Give facts. Put no emotions in it.

I would just send a friendly and informative email to co-worker 30mn before I leave:

Hi Qui-Gon,

My shift ends in 1/2 hour. Is there any data you need from me before I go? In case you need to access/get to whatever thing when I'm out, please go to A / B / C and/or do D / E / F.

Please let me know if I can help.



This way, you inform co-worker that:

  1. You take care of business (not blocking him / offering solutions).
  2. You will be out by "time" (or XX minutes, in case co-worker doesn't look at the clock).
  3. It's a nice "now or never" way to let him know, either to ask you, or to do it themselves.

This kind of email is polite, professional, shows interest in the job, but sets boundaries too.

  • 2
    Great answer, except for the part where Obi-Wan is telling Qui-Gon what to do ;)
    – Flater
    Oct 19, 2017 at 8:11
  • Great answer! I would only add that for boundaries to be effective, they must be enforced. In other words, once you give him that message (and once you've ensured that he actually read the message 30 minutes in advance), and if he still demands you do work at the last second, then do not stay past that time to do that work (unless it's an absolute catastrophe not to do it that very minute). In other words, you can't keep on rewarding that kind of behavior, if you do, he may never change his way of asking for things at the last second. Oct 20, 2017 at 11:39
  • @StephanBranczyk : thanks for the nice comment. You're right about the need to "enforce" the rules later, but as OP didn't ask for it, I "forgot" about the next step :)
    – OldPadawan
    Oct 20, 2017 at 11:41

You kind of answered your own question.

tell him to let me know of what he needs earlier so that i will be able to get it done before work ends

Just tell him in a one-on-one conversation, that you work from x o'clock to y o'clock and that you noticed him frequently giving you asap-tasks when you are just about to leave. Then ask to get the tasks earlier or at least a "warning" that he might require this data so you can prepare.

Things to keep in mind:

  • he might not know your working hours as well as you think he does

  • your working hours might overlap significantly and it might be his 6th hour while it is your 8th and he doesn't notice the inconvenience

  • maybe he doesn't know what he will require later that day and the time he finds out just happens to be the time you normally leave

  • tell him that he can bother you at any time to ask for this data

  • when did it start that he asks so late for the data? Is this a new thing? Do other people also do it this way? How was it before?

  • maybe you can guess what type of data he needs and prepare at least a bit for it

  • could you teach him to get the data him self? Or provide a way for him to get it?


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