Dealing with a lazy co-worker

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In these uncertain times, most people are happy to have a job and do their very best to ensure that they keep it. However, occasionally, the odd lazy co-worker will slip through the cracks and their lack of effort can put more stress on your shoulders. You don’t have to just sit back and accept it – you can do something to deal with a lazy co-worker before your blood pressure goes sky high.

Befriend them

If it is someone that you don’t know well, try getting to know them a little better. There may be a reason behind their apparent laziness. They may be going through a divorce or other family trouble, or they may be desperately unhappy and heading for a breakdown. Don’t be too quick to judge them negatively for their laziness. Knowing the truth may not solve the issue of their low productivity, but it will make you feel better when you’re filling in for them.

Discuss with others

It may be obvious to you that a particular co-worker is lazy, but do others agree with you? It is worth checking with them. They may consider that your co-worker simply works in a different way, and get the job done regardless of method. They may even have suggestions of how the two of you can resolve issues. Don’t go accusing your co-worker of laziness without being completely sure of your own standpoint first.

Reason with them

If there is no apparent reason other than pure laziness, then try to reason with them. They may not realise that you are having to work harder to cover for them, or they may not have seen anything wrong with their actions. Don’t play the blame game; simply state your case as openly as possible and preferably in conjunction with other who feel the same way and can back you up without ganging up on the lazy co-worker.

Report them

If the problem has been going on for some time, then it may be time to stand up for yourself and report the matter to your superior. Any boss worth his/her salt should already be aware of the situation, but it cannot hurt to let them know that you are unhappy with it. It is then up to your boss to sort out the situation. Hopefully, all that will be needed is a quiet word, with the minimum of negative impact on you.

Grin and bear it

The other alternative is simply to do nothing and hope the situation eventually resolves itself. It may be that proving your worth will help you improve your career and that your colleague, by not doing an adequate job, will dig his/her own grave. Only you can tell whether this is a good move or not, because it very much depends on the attitude of those around you.


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