how to deal with a lazy colleague. (2023)

As you read this article, you are probably already thinking of a colleague of yours who makes the lazy lazy.

It can be hard to tell if someone is resting or really busy with work. But whether they're just plain incompetent or just master the art of procrastination, there are telltale signs of a lazy colleague. It can be the extra breaks they take throughout the day or the vacations before completing their chores. They can also sometimes delegate so much of their own work that it's confusing as to what they're actually doing in a workday. They can appear stressed and tired for reasons only they know.

However, they will find that their work is often sloppy, not up to standards, or that they constantly miss deadlines.

In every company there is at least one lazy worker who is not the easiest to deal with. But here are seven tips on how to deal with lazy workers that can help relieve your stress.

7 ways to deal with a lazy co-worker

Dealing with lazy co-workers can be difficult, and often there is no easy way to solve these problems. When the behavior persists, it becomes a real problem as it can affect the team's efficiency and overall performance. Also, facing them alone and head-on can do more harm than good, but there are some steps you can take to distract yourself from the problem and keep your sanity in check.

1. Don't get distracted by your goals

Don't waste your time thinking about that lazy co-worker who's always on Facebook or texting and napping when he isWork from home.

They won't care how you feel, so why should you? Nobody likes a lazy person and you're probably not the only one who feels this way. Spending your time and energy worrying about those lazy co-workers is only distracting you from the important things in life. Instead, you should spend more time focusing on your own work priorities.

It is more important to take advantage of the valuable opportunities that present themselves and to take care of your sanity.

2. Keep your sanity in check

One of the best things to do when you're feeling irritable or stressed is to take a deep breath — count to 10 and exhale. You should be able to calm down after a stressful incident by doing the breathing exercise a few times. Breathing exercises can also help prevent you from reacting negatively to a situation that you might later regret.

You can also try to spend more of your personal time in activities that you enjoy. For example, you can find a hobby like cooking or exercising. These are activities that you can incorporate into your daily routine to express yourself positively in new ways. You can also choose a new Spotify playlist of upbeat songs to lift your spirits when you're feeling a little irritable.

3. Think before you act

We must always be smart when dealing with lazy colleagues. Before you act on a situation, you need to ask yourself: How would you like to be perceived by others on your team and the company in general? Keep in mind that behavior such as gossiping or attacking is often considered unprofessional. At worst, your boss feels that you are too emotional and don't have what it takes to become a credible leader based on how you react in difficult situations.

Remember that you are a valued member of your team. The management team may already know who is working and who is relaxing and is probably just waiting for the right moment to correct bad behavior.

4. stay positive

Your workload and performance can suffer if you focus too much on other people. This "what if" and "how did this happen?" it can dampen your mood and damage your relationships with your peers. But be careful, because hanging out with a grumpy colleague is just as bad as working with a lazy one.

You are guaranteed to do better quality work simply by staying positive. Instead, redirect your energy to your own work and job performance. Focus on work so you can get the promotion you've been waiting for!

5. Push back if you can

Don't fall into the trap of making your job your responsibility. Lazy colleagues often delegate their responsibilities to others on the team, and may even design them to help you develop your skills on the job.

You know they passed the work on to you on purpose because you've seen Instagram stories of them having fun after work while you work overtime to get chores done. These lazy co-workers may even demand credit for your work, which can be very frustrating.

To avoid getting into this situation, you must learn to back off when you can. If they start to get defensive, ask them to explain how working on the task can enhance their career growth; or what were the events that caused them to miss important deadlines. Most importantly, make sure all your communication with them is via email or SMS in case you need to get in touch with them in the future. Learning how to use digital solutions and leave a digital footprint is very important as they serve as evidence that can do you a favor in the future.

We live in a world where project management tools like Trello boards or JIRA are part of our everyday work. Tag your lazy colleague in tasks so they can be held accountable for projects and results.

Another benefit of using these new digital solutions is that they automatically track project progress and edit history, making it easy to see who has been working on tasks and who hasn't. While these features are primarily used to track past work changes, you can use them as evidence to show that your co-workers are not doing well.

6. Approach them professionally

If you feel you need to say something, don't contact your management team right away. It's all a matter of timing and preparation. Speaking too soon can make it sound like you're gossiping or complaining about a colleague, which can create a negative impression.

Instead, practice proper business decency and have an open discussion with your colleague. These discussions can also help clear up misunderstandings as they might not be really lazy. They may struggle to keep up with their current workload, responsibilities, and deadlines, or have personal issues that distract them from work.

You may be wondering what to say to a lazy colleague?

Approach them in a supportive manner where you can openly discuss issues and come together to fine-tune your goals, deadlines, and commitments. Rather than judging their job performance or, worse, their character, explain clearly how their role, if left aside, directly affects you and the team. Let them know where you think they can improve and how they would like to support the team's efforts.

It would also be helpful if you wrote down your points before speaking to them so you don't miss anything.

You should also not approach them when you are angry (see point 2). Try to communicate your views clearly and objectively. If you start the argument short-tempered, you're more likely to lose your temper and this will only make the problem worse.

While uncommon, sometimes addressing these issues honestly but respectfully can be enough to resolve the situation.

7. Contact your manager or Human Resources

When all else fails and you really can't deal with your lazy colleague, it's probably time to turn to people you trust for advice on how to solve the problem, such as: B. Your manager or the HR team.

But before you reach out to your manager or HR, come up with a plan and think about the ideal end goal. What do you hope to achieve when you achieve them? Would you like the HR team to talk to your colleague and do you expect a positive change in your work attitude? Or do you need advice on how best to approach your lazy colleague to relieve unnecessary stress?

You should also note that there is a fine line between gossiping and complaining about your co-workers and genuinely committing to a fair resolution. Then the evidence gathered may come in handy. Help your manager understand the situation from the start and provide full details of everything you tried to resolve the conflict.

When speaking to HR and your manager, remain neutral and always wait for them to finish their sentences before responding. Make sure your body language reflects your sincerity when giving professional advice.

However, keep an open mind and remember to remain professional throughout the process.

when you are fed up with your lazy colleague

If the negative work environment is taking its toll and affecting your mental health, it's time to look for new employers who can offer a healthier, more positive work environment.

There may be times when the problem is much bigger than you think, e.g. B. at work in atoxic environmentwhere the company normalizes bad and unprofessional behavior. Or it could be your boss playing favoritism, meaning you're always on the losing side. If that's the case, it might be time to think about looking for new employers that can provide a healthier and more positive work environment.

Contact Randstadand our team of expert advisors who can support you in your career planning and job search! Alternatively, you can escape your toxic and lazy peers by browsing ourJob offersand apply for a new job.

Related content:

  • how to deal with burnout in the workplace
  • 5 colleagues from hell and how to deal with them
  • The top 3 career regrets of working professionals


How do you professionally complain about a lazy coworker? ›

Explain the Situation

Arrange a one-on-one meeting with your boss to discuss concerns about employees slacking off. Although it's counterintuitive, your confrontation with your boss should be nonconfrontational. Your tone should be polite, respectful and diplomatic.

What do you say to a lazy coworker? ›

Let them know how their inaction this is affecting your work

Let them know how the problem is affecting you. Don't assume they're lazy. Give them an opportunity to let you know why the problem is happening. Offer to help them find a solution—but don't offer to do the work.

How do you deal with a lazy employee at work? ›

How to deal with lazy employees: a comprehensive 6-step plan
  1. Approach the worker in a professional manner. ...
  2. Help them set clear goals. ...
  3. Review the worker's responsibilities. ...
  4. Provide them with the tools to achieve their goals. ...
  5. Discuss incentives and opportunities for career growth. ...
  6. Schedule regular feedback sessions.
Oct 17, 2022

What to do if coworker is slacking? ›

If there's a single coworker slacking off, consider talking to him or her privately. Be careful not to seem accusatory or confrontational – explain calmly how his or her behavior is impacting you and also be open to hearing his or her side of the story.

What is a toxic coworker? ›

The toxic colleague leaves little room for others: for others' ideas, opinions, and others to shine. They tend to overshadow their peers' results or delegitimize them, either passive-aggressively or indirectly. The important thing is that their point of view prevails: everyone is friends as long as that happens.

How do you tell a coworker to stay in their lane? ›

It sounds like you need to have a conversation with Jane where you say something like this: “Jane, you're great at your job and I'm glad to have you here. But there's something I want to talk to you about that is impacting the team and I want to ask you to change.

What are the qualities of a lazy worker? ›

Usually, a lazy coworker presents excuses for everything, fails deadlines, and misses meetings. They tend to self-isolate and be aloof. They don't spend too much time at their desks, take several breaks, and there is usually an aura of stress around them.

How do you politely ignore a coworker? ›

Next time your colleague stops by your desk to waste your time, consider employing one of the following tactics to ignore the interruption:
  1. Wear your headphones, even when you're not listening to music. ...
  2. Become persistently political. ...
  3. Say you're in a bad mood and don't want to talk about it. ...
  4. Act like you're asleep.
Feb 26, 2016

How do you deal with a team member who is not productive? ›

Do: Find the Root Cause
  1. Do: Evaluate the Employee's Fit in the Job and Your Organization. ...
  2. Do: Set Goals. ...
  3. Do: Offer Incentives. ...
  4. Do: Provide Encouragement. ...
  5. Don't: Immediately Fire Someone. ...
  6. Don't: Embarrass the Employee. ...
  7. Don't: Ignore the problem.

What is an example of a lazy employee? ›

These are employees who will actively seek ways to avoid work, be absent from work while maintaining their job at the office, cause problems in team projects and bring pessimism into many discussions and sprints. All that extends to the overall employee engagement of the team. Employees are lazy for many reasons.

Can I tell an employee they are lazy? ›

The first step to take when tackling a lazy employee is to simply call them out on their poor behavior. It's imperative to do this in private; you don't want to dishearten them even more by belittling them in front of their colleagues. Secondly, it's important to remain polite.

Why are some coworkers lazy? ›

Possible reason for this lazy behavior: there are a few things that can make your coworker avoid the office. It can be something in their personal life (maybe someone in their family is sick), but it can be also about work life. Some relationship issues, maybe some big argue or even mobbing.

How do you professionally confront a coworker? ›

Direct Discussion – How to Approach a Co-Worker
  1. Don't talk to your colleague in anger. ...
  2. Analyze and think about the problem. ...
  3. Set time to have a discussion. ...
  4. Communicate effectively. ...
  5. Be ready to listen. ...
  6. Work together to solve the problem. ...
  7. Don't vent to others - keep the matter confidential. ...
  8. Keep working at it.

How do you tell an employee they need to improve their work? ›

Improve Employee Productivity With BrowseReporter
  1. 1) Identify the Root Cause of the Employee's Performance Issues.
  2. 2) Clearly Outline the Expected Behavior.
  3. 3) Have a Private One on One Meeting.
  4. 4) Encourage the Employee to Focus on Self-Evaluation.
  5. 5) Manage Your Emotional Intelligence.
  6. 6) Offer Training & Mentorship.

What should you not say to a coworker? ›

7 Phrases You Should Never Say at Work
  • “This may be a stupid idea but…” ...
  • “It is what it is” ...
  • “That's not my problem” ...
  • “It's the way we've always done it” ...
  • “I told you so” ...
  • “I'm really busy” ...
  • “I don't care”
Sep 17, 2021

How do you tell if a coworker secretly hates you? ›

  1. Your gut tells you they don't like you. aslysun/Shutterstock. ...
  2. They don't smile when you're around. Andrew Balcombe/Shutterstock. ...
  3. They can't maintain eye contact with you. Domaskina/Shutterstock. ...
  4. They constantly stare at you. ...
  5. They avoid you. ...
  6. They don't acknowledge your presence. ...
  7. They feed the rumor mill. ...
  8. They're short with you.
Apr 12, 2018

What is a narcissistic coworker? ›

They tend to place their needs before others, and they often manipulate people or situations to ensure they receive what they want. Narcissists value admiration and validation- these are crucial parts of their identity, and they can collapse or become depressed when these needs are not met.

How do you handle a coworker who thinks they are your boss? ›

Start with these four tactics:
  1. Speak Up in the Moment. Your colleague has just taken charge and relegated you to a boring task again, and you're really upset about it. ...
  2. Schedule a Chat. Maybe you skimmed over the “raise your voice” advice thinking, “Been there. ...
  3. Nominate Co-workers. ...
  4. Go to Your Boss.

How do you politely tell someone to back off at work? ›

Describe the situation, in detail, explaining what the problem is, and why. Make sure you have evidence to back this up. Then offer a solution - what you want them to do, and then the consequences: what will happen if they do - and don't do - as you ask."

What are examples of disrespectful behavior in the workplace? ›

These are some specific examples of disrespectful behavior in the workplace:
  • Gossiping or lying.
  • Shouting or speaking in a hostile tone.
  • Saying inappropriate words or statements.
  • Demeaning someone.
  • Displaying biased attitudes or beliefs.
  • Being physically disruptive (e.g., throwing items when angry)

What are four examples of unproductive work behavior? ›

Counterproductive work behaviors come in many different forms, but can include tardiness, theft, fraud, sexual harassment, workplace bullying, absenteeism, substance abuse, workplace aggression, or sabotage.

What is the behavior of a lazy person? ›

A person is being lazy if he is able to carry out some activity that he ought to carry out, but is disinclined to do so because of the effort involved. Instead, he carries out the activity perfunctorily; or engages in some other, less strenuous or less boring activity; or remains idle.

What are the consequences of lazy employees? ›

A skilled employee who is lazy wastes the company's time and can irritate coworkers who must share the load. This will also affect other employees' productivity and also in team morale. According to the survey done in 2020, it shows that there will always be one slacker on every team.

Is it OK to ignore coworkers? ›

Turns out if you're finding yourself less productive at work or just stressed out, in general, there is one simple solution: ignore your co-workers. A study recently conducted showed that taking time to yourself at the office is a quick way to gain a resurgence of energy and momentum for daily tasks.

How do you prove a toxic coworker? ›

Signs of a Toxic Coworker

They are not cooperative. They rarely tell the truth. Sooner or later, you'll catch them lying. They are not accountable.

How do you tell someone they are not performing at work? ›

How to tell an employee they're underperforming
  1. Find where expectations don't align.
  2. Schedule a one-on-one.
  3. Ask how they think they are performing first.
  4. Give specific examples.
  5. Connect their goals to the expectations.
  6. Share the why.
  7. Be clear about expectations.
  8. Make a plan together.
Feb 15, 2022

How do you deal with difficult coworkers without affecting productivity? ›

How to deal with difficult people at work
  1. Lead by example.
  2. Understand the situation.
  3. Focus on solutions.
  4. Set goals.
  5. Raise the issue.
  6. Find common ground.
  7. Limit contact with the person.
  8. Be professional.
Oct 4, 2022

How do you deal with a team who is a slacker? ›

How to Successfully Work with Slackers
  1. Focus on productivity. Start out by putting your emotions aside and figuring out whether your colleague's behavior really affects your ability to do your job. ...
  2. Evaluate the context. ...
  3. Be flexible. ...
  4. Stick to the facts. ...
  5. Keep emotion out of the conversation.
Oct 16, 2019

How do you call someone lazy professionally? ›

Synonyms of lazy
  1. idle.
  2. slothful.
  3. shiftless.
  4. indolent.
  5. sleepy.
  6. dull.
  7. lethargic.
  8. apathetic.

What do you say to an unmotivated employee? ›

6 Ways to Re-Engage an Unmotivated Employee
  1. Ask when, then why.
  2. Offer a new challenge.
  3. Uncover the underlying issue.
  4. Ask them to develop a career plan.
  5. Provide a change of scenery.
  6. Encourage personal projects.
Apr 23, 2018

Why are lazy people more successful? ›

Although lazy people don't do as much as you, they conserve their energy then harness their focus towards the most important priority hence the spurt. They are able to complete their work at a much higher standard because rather than focusing on multiple tasks they divert all of their resources to one!

What are the six types of difficult employees? ›

What do loss of productivity, interpersonal drama, employee retention, and low morale have in common? All are the result of hiring one of the 6 types of difficult employees. Bullies, Debbie Downers, Egomaniacs, Distractors, Deserters, and Excuse Makers can make your life and the lives of their co-workers hell.

When should you push back at work? ›

There are more polite and professional ways to push back when you're being asked to do something you're incapable of doing.
Push Back in These 3 Instances
  • When You Don't Have the Resources. ...
  • When the Timeline Is Unreasonable. ...
  • When You Feel the Request Is Unethical.

How do you hold a lazy employee accountable? ›

11 Tips on How to Hold Employees Accountable in 2021
  1. Leaders should first hold themselves accountable. ...
  2. Set clear expectations. ...
  3. Don't Solve — Empathize. ...
  4. Provide the necessary resources. ...
  5. Address poor performance ASAP. ...
  6. Set SMART goals. ...
  7. Provide data. ...
  8. Consistent, ongoing feedback.
Jul 16, 2021

How do you tell an employee they need to work harder? ›

How to tell an employee they need to improve
  1. Schedule a meeting. When you decide you need to speak to an employee about their performance, you can schedule an informal, one-on-one meeting. ...
  2. Ask how they're doing. ...
  3. Explain missed expectations. ...
  4. Set clear goals and metrics. ...
  5. Offer to support them. ...
  6. Schedule a follow-up meeting.
Sep 2, 2021

Can you fire an employee for being lazy? ›

California is an at-will state, which means that an employer can fire you for any reason at any time, with or without cause. This means that if your boss doesn't like your personality, if you run out of work, if they think you're lazy, or if they just don't need you anymore, they can fire you at any time.

What to do when one of your coworkers don't like you? ›

What's the best way to deal with co-workers that dislike you?
  • Attempt To Solve The Problem Privately.
  • Ask Them for a Favor.
  • Confront The Issue.
  • Find Out Where Your Belief is Coming From.
  • Seek Support from Allies.
  • Put Your Head Down and Focus on Work.
  • Try Getting To Know Them Better.
  • Build a Rapport With Them.
Jun 30, 2022

Should I complain about a lazy coworker? ›

It may be difficult to do–especially if your superiors don't take your complaints seriously–but never allow yourself to be influenced by lazy coworkers. Just because they're goofing off doesn't mean you should too. Instead, realize that lazy work affects your reputation.

Should you complain to your boss about lazy coworker? ›

Talk to your boss (but be judicious). You really shouldn't complain to your supervisor about a colleague, says Uzzi. For one thing, “it makes you look bad. You seem like a whiner — someone who can't manage relationships well,” he says.

How do I complain about an incompetent coworker? ›

Inform the Supervisor. Meet with your supervisor and describe how the incompetent coworker is causing more work for other team members who must correct that person's mistakes and pick up the slack. Summarize incidents where your coworkers' incompetence affects your job performance.

How do I report a coworker who isn't doing their job? ›

To make your complaint, try using a technique called “I-statements”. With an I-statement, you focus on the problem you're having instead of what's wrong with your coworker, then you ask for what you need. A well-worded I-statement, delivered in a friendly tone, doesn't sound at all confrontational.


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