Dealing with a lazy coworker is difficult, but almost every workplace has a few. While there is nothing wrong with taking it easy once in a while, being perpetually lazy and shunning responsibility is highly unprofessional.
The problem that others usually face is telling the lazy coworker they are not meeting the expectations. Since you spend the better part of your work day with your coworkers, getting into a tiff with them is not always a good idea. Hence, many employees want to avoid workplace conflict, and with good reason.
However, if a coworker is consistently lazy, it could be a problem for the rest of the team. The work does not get done on time, and there are often several mistakes that one has to contend with. The team suffers when a project fails.
In most cases, a superior will often step in and speak to the lazy employee, but if the latter keeps doing the bare minimum, it could be a while before they notice and take action. Meanwhile, the other employees have to deal with their lazy coworkers, which could be a challenge in many ways.
Here is what you can do if you have someone similar in your office.
Why is it Important for Everyone in the Team to
In an office, every employee has a part to play, and no matter which sector or industry you are from, this applies to every workforce. If you work in an organization, you must ensure that you are playing your part and fulfilling your share to complete the task successfully.
When everyone keeps doing this, the organization keeps running smoothly. Sadly, some employees are sluggish and do not understand this equation. They take their job for granted and take advantage of their employment status by drawing their salary by doing the bare minimum.
Lazy coworkers can disrupt the rhythm in the workplace. They sometimes even influence others to follow their path through their actions. They either don’t complete their work promptly or do it very shoddily. They never check if the team’s performance is dipping because of them and do not care if it is.
Every team member can only grow when the entire team does well, which cannot happen if one or a few of them could not care less. The other team members must pick up the slack and work harder, leading to resentment and workplace conflicts over time.
Hence, dealing with lazy coworkers becomes vital to nip the problem in the bud. And when you learn how to deal with them, you also become more aware of your surroundings and learn what is best for you.
7 Signs That Your Coworker is Lazy
Some people are easygoing, so it could be a while before you realize whether your coworker is simply a laid-back person or lazy.
A lazy back person will not rush through things but will eventually do what needs to be done. A lazy person, however, will shun responsibility as much as possible.
Some signs will help you detect whether your coworker is lazy.
1. Arriving Late and Leaving Early
Every employee has to complete their 40 hours of week rule, or whatever number of hours the organization requires. Coming to the office on time and starting work with everyone else is a significant aspect for the team to run smoothly.
However, your lazy coworker will always be late to arrive and the first one to leave. It is okay if it occasionally happens due to traffic conditions or emergencies. However, if this becomes a daily habit, it becomes a problem.
They hardly get any work done and always make excuses for it, leaving others to complete their tasks while they sit back and reap the benefits.
2. Absent from Their Desks
A telltale sign of a lazy coworker is that they are hardly at their desk. They either chat in the coffee vending machine or play games on their phones. You will often find their desk empty when you walk past their spot.
Or, they make an excuse to get the most menial tasks done, like taking printouts and skipping doing the actual work. You will never see them working and researching, but they will always give the impression that they are doing a lot.
3. Avoid Taking More Work
Your lazy coworker will refuse to take on any extra work, even if the team requires it. They will always find an excuse to deny by stating several baseless reasons but are not that busy.
The other team members often have to chip in and do their work as well as those that the coworker was supposed to do, and they work extra and more challenging. The lazy coworker will get by just by pretending they are busy.
4. They Do Not Want to Progress
People who get by doing their barest minimum often do not have any hunger to succeed. You will not see them bothered about their performance, and they do not have any hunger to compete. They are happy drawing their salary and do not wish for more.
While this might seem like a personal choice, sometimes this mindset can influence others, especially junior employees. They sit back and enjoy the show while everyone is hustling around to get work done; over time, it can disrupt workplace balance.
Also Read: 11 Things to Bring on Your First Day of Work
5. Avoiding Work Conversations
Your lazy coworkers will often avoid work conversations because they will only have little to contribute as they hardly do anything. They will always try to change the subject whenever you mention team progress. They prefer chatting on anything under the sky, apart from work.
Another reason for doing so is that they do not do much is highlighted if this conversation continues, and it is something they want to avoid. You will also find them contributing the least when there are team meetings.
6. Delegating Work
You will often find your lazy coworkers delegating their share of the work to others. They will either find a junior to fill in for them or ask someone else to do it unabashedly.
Many people need to realize this at first, and it can take a while to notice this pattern because the coworker will keep saying that they have other things to do on their plate.
However, it is a sign they are lazy if you always see them delegating the more complicated bits of the project to others or not speaking to clients and customers. They are unwilling to put in the effort to get the work done.
7. Not Meeting Deadlines
Your lazy coworker only sometimes meets the deadlines. They are always late in submitting their work, and even when they do, the work has a lot of errors. They keep making mistakes, and others have to rectify them. Other coworkers also have to pick up their slack, and they end up doing a lot more.
Not meeting deadlines can become a problem over time, and if you notice that the projects are always incomplete due to the late submission of someone in particular, then chances are they are lazy.
8. Asking for Favors
Another sign that your coworker is lazy is that they will always ask you for favors. They will either ask to fill in for you or will ask you to do their work for them. It is alright if someone asks for help once in a while- even if you may need a favor from your coworker at some point.
However, if this particular coworker is always asking for favors, then it is evident that they want to avoid doing their work, which is a mark of laziness. A proactive employee will never keep on asking others to do their share of the work for them.
9. Body Language
You can tell whether someone is lazy by looking at their body language. Your lazy coworker will often slouch. They are probably a little disheveled and will look like they just woke up from sleep! They are slow to walk and will arrive late for the meeting in the conference room.
You will often see them reclining on their chairs or that their screensavers are on most of the time. They will joke about other things to avoid talking about work and will have an easygoing way about everything.
How Can You Deal With a Lazy Coworker?
Once you notice the signs and understand that your coworker is lazy, you will have to learn how to deal with them. Being the first to start a workplace conflict is never a good idea, but there are ways to deal with them.
1. Do Not Be Rash
One of the things about working with a lazy person is that you are bound to feel irritated by their attitude after a while. If you are serious about your work, you are bound to feel impatient with someone who puts in shoddy work every time.
However, letting your feelings get the better of you is a bad idea. Once you know there is a problem, let the person know through your actions that you know they are not up to their tasks, and then get on with your work.
Do not use rash words or do something that is complaining to HR. Leave your superiors to deal with them, and you can be sure that they notice everything.
2. Be More Assertive
It is essential to be assertive while dealing with lazy coworkers. If your coworker keeps asking you for a favor, they do it because they know you will relent.
However, if you are assertive and start saying no every time they ask you to fill in for them or do their work, they will eventually stop asking. Yes, they might ask someone else instead, but they will stop bothering you if they finally meet with resistance.
3. Offer Some Assistance
In the initial days, you could assist your lazy coworkers. Some people become lazy because they try to avoid uncomfortable things. They would rather keep pushing away the problem rather than face it.
If that is the case, then your guidance might help your coworker. Offer them tips on tackling a task faster by using some project management tools. However, do not be aggressive while doing so. If your coworker finds an easier way to do the job, they might get around to doing it.
4. Speak to a Superior
You will have to be careful while doing this because it cannot look like you are complaining about your coworker. However, you can do so more as a way of seeking advice without bringing up names.
Talk to a superior about what to do when one of your coworkers is not contributing enough. After all, they might have gone through many such situations in their professional life and met several people. They might offer you counsel about what to do, based on your specific situation and workplace scenario.
5. Do Not Gossip With Others
Just like you should not complain to your boss about your coworker, you should also not gossip about them to your coworkers. It will only reflect poorly on you, and you will come across as a difficult person yourself.
Instead, take the opportunity to talk to the coworker yourself. If you are on good terms otherwise, then tell them how handling all their extra responsibilities is leading to a misbalance. If your coworkers see you talking to them instead of talking to others about them, they might come around and start putting in more effort.
6. Hone Your Leadership Skills
Try seeing the silver lining in the cloud and take the instance of your lazy coworker as a chance to improve yourself. If your lazy coworker is content taking the back seat, then you have one less person to compete with.
Use this opportunity to learn new skills and improve. Work better and harder and take the lead over your coworker. Use this opportunity to move ahead, and you might be in for an early promotion. You might even take on a managerial position when your seniors notice you doing more than your share of work and taking the team’s responsibility. Such acts are always noticed, and you will get a chance to exercise how to get work done most efficiently.
7. Document Everything
If you see that things are constantly being shifted and there is unnecessary chaos because of a few lazy people, you should start documenting everything.
If you or your team is ever pulled up because of poor performance, you will have everything you need to show your superiors that it was not your fault.
At some point, your lazy coworker is to be held accountable, and if things get bad, you will need evidence of when exactly things went wrong. You could give a heads-up to your coworker, though, and if they see their actions are being documented, they might turn over a new leaf.
Bonus Read: How Far Is Too Far To Drive To Work?
Seeing one or a few coworkers lazy, not doing their work, and yet getting their entire paychecks every month can be very frustrating. Here you are, struggling with everything, while your lazy coworker gets all the perks without chipping in much.
However, learn to look at things in a new light, and you can be sure that the lazy person will not go far if they continue like this. Hard work always gets noticed, so keep doing your share. Your lazy coworker will either mend their ways or suffer the consequences someday.
Do not let their attitude affect you; you will surely succeed in your career by concentrating on your work.