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Dealing With Lazy Co-Workers

Published: Wednesday 21st August 2019

It can be frustrating when you’re doing a great job, but those around you aren’t. But, the fact is, most people have had to deal with a co-worker who doesn’t pull their weight at one time or another. Signs generally include coming in late, avoiding certain jobs, taking long lunches and leaving early. So what do you do?

Business, people and technology concept - lazy businessman with smartphone and papers at office

Don’t let others affect your performance

Firstly, and most importantly, don’t let it affect your own motivation, productivity, or the quality of your work. If your manager is doing their job sufficiently, they should be already aware of the situation. Getting demotivated and becoming lacklustre in your own role will only get you labeled as one of the underperformers. Instead, this could be an opportunity to shine, show your worth to the organisation and even boost your chances of promotion. Who knows? Soon, you might even be managing your underperforming co-workers.

Tired businessman yawning when sitting at desk with female colleague during meeting in office, businesswoman looking with confusion on bored male coworker.

Be a leader

However, if it appears management hasn’t noticed, or are ignoring the fact that you’re having to pick up the slack when it comes to your work colleagues, then you may have to take action yourself. In the first instance, if it’s just one colleague who seems to be underperforming, you could try to motivate them.

If that doesn’t work, it’s time to have a quiet word at an appropriate time to see if the problem lies elsewhere. Ask them if they’re having difficulties or need support? They may simply be struggling with certain aspects of the job at hand, especially if they’re new to the role. If that is the case, then you may be able to help them get to grips with areas where they’re struggling, or the two of you could take the issue to management. Your co-worker might just need further training.

Co-worker talking with other employee to find out their problems

Escalating the issue

Alternatively, if they don’t want to engage with you, or refuse to accept that there is a problem, you may have to escalate the issue. To do this, make sure you gather the evidence you need to present your case to management, or HR, and then leave the situation with them. Make sure you listen to any advice your manager gives you regarding the issue. They should now monitor the individual(s) for signs a lack of productivity or misconduct.

One of the problems with escalating the issue is if your colleagues find out. You could be ostracised by other workers for ‘grassing’, especially if more than one worker is involved. In this case, you need to tread carefully. If a clique of workers seems to be colluding to make life easier in the workplace, then it’s perhaps more sensible to go straight to your line manager for a confidential chat, assuming, of course, that they aren’t a member of that group. Otherwise, your first port of call should be HR.

Employee speaking to HR manager about something workforce issues while standing near office window

Find a new job

If, after a while, nothing changes, or management take no action, then it could simply be the culture within the organisation that’s to blame. If that’s the case, you might have to consider taking your skills elsewhere. Fortunately, you’ll find plenty of great companies with fantastic working cultures with a simple job search on Zoek.

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