How to deal with a lazy workmate

by | 05.07.23

Do you work with someone who takes long lunch breaks, makes dozens of personal calls, frequently goes to the loo or is looking at personal websites all day while you struggle to keep up with your daily workload. It’s not uncommon to come across a lazy workmate and they’re not always easy to deal with. Moaning about them won’t get you anywhere but there are a few things you can do to alleviate the issue, here are some tips:

Don’t let them distract you

Don’t spend your day focusing on the fact that your lazy workmate is constantly checking Facebook, texting or talking to their friends at the desk next to yours. Try to take then out and focus on your work. Us human beings are funny we will spend more time focusing on the fact that our colleague isn’t doing their work than it would take to just do it ourselves.

Don’t get caught up in the issue of fairness

Life isn’t fair, you may think it’s not fair that your workmate gets away with doing nothing but at the end of day it really doesn’t change anything. By pointing out that it’s not fair you will make yourself feel bad and the situation is not going to change. Instead focus on being the best at your job that you can be.

Decide who ‘you’ want to be

These tips are really all about behaviour, but there is a more important question and that is “who do you want to be”. Think of the people you admire and what qualities make them admirable. Then ask yourself how would they deal with the situation. You’ll behave very differently if your role model is Tom Cruise rather than Gandhi. Sometimes the person you are is more important than determining your actions and momentary concerns about a specific situation.

Don’t let it affect your attitude

If you waste your time and energy on being angry or annoyed about your lazy colleague your own work performance may start slipping and you may be less pleasant to be around. A hostile workmate is just as bad as a lazy one.

Don’t tattle

If you tattle you may be considered a creep by the workmates. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak up. This could be tricky though because you don’t know how your boss is going to take it. Some bosses will say “thanks for letting me know” while others may say “it’s not your job to worry about your workmates performance”. But if you tell your boss your workmate is holding up work being completed believe me they will take action.

Don’t let their ways rub off on you

Don’t get sucked into your workmate’s routine, if they troll the internet throughout the day rather than work don’t copy them. If they start chatting with you, let them know you are busy. It’s tempting to follow their lead if they are getting away with it but don’t fall into this trap.

Don’t let their work become your responsibility

If you’re on the same team or share the same responsibilities don’t pick up the work they aren’t doing. Remind them of their tasks and deadlines, but don’t let babysitting your lazy colleague consume too much of your valuable time.

Don’t let them affect your success

A lazy workmate can hinder your progress. If your boss notices work isn’t getting done, don’t let the blame fall on you. This is your opportunity to speak up if you haven’t already done so.

Use the opportunity to be a leader

This may be your chance to really step up and prove you can deal with difficult situations. When you go to your boss tell him or her that you’ve noticed your colleague isn’t getting their work done, so you would like the opportunity of leading the work group. Then approach your workmate and say you want to help them meet their goals and deadlines. At the end of the day your colleague may not be lazy, they may just be unclear of their tasks and deadlines.

Don’t gossip or complain to other colleagues

To gossip or moan about a workmate is very unprofessional. Equally don’t listen to gossip from others. You could cause misunderstandings and hurt feelings. If you feel strongly about the situation go to your boss but be careful how you do this, otherwise go to the workmate and ask if they are struggling as they are not getting things done and recommend they go to the boss and ask for support. Never start a negative campaign about a workmate. This could be considered bullying.

So there you go at some point in your working life you will encounter a lazy so and so, it’s the law of average. When you do come across this situation be careful of how you deal with it but more importantly don’t ever let someone else’s behaviour affect your performance.

Good Luck

Angela Burton