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Lazy Colleagues and How To Deal With Them

Working alongside someone who doesn’t pull their weight can really get you down. For it usually means an increased work load and lots of stress.

But dealing with a lazy colleague isn’t as difficult as you might expect. By following a few simple steps you can set your fellow co-worker on the right path and ease your working day at the same time.

People often stick their head in the sand when it comes to problem colleagues but feigning ignorance often makes things worse. The person in question just carries on regardless – leaving everyone else to pick up the pieces.

In some industries, team members work round the clock to make up for the lost time their lazy colleagues spend surfing the net, chatting with friends and enjoying long lunches.

Nobody likes the idea of confrontation but when your health and career are at stake, doing nothing is never an option. Instead, it’s time to get smart and take control of the situation.

The first thing to do is to approach the colleague in question and outline your concerns. At all times keep things calm and professional. The goal isn’t to start an argument but explain how their performance affects everyone in the team. If you have specific details to hand, even better. Take a fellow team member with you for some moral support if need be.

Listen to what your colleague has to say and try to see things from their side. Perhaps they feel overwhelmed by their job or that they don’t have adequate training. Problems at home can also have a dramatic impact on performance.

Some colleagues may be apologetic about their behaviour and others a little confrontational. The important thing to remember is to keep your chat specific and not let your emotions get the better of you.

Let your co-worker know what you need them to do and how this will have a positive outcome for the rest of the team. If they are completely unmotivated, ask them what tasks they do enjoy doing and try to push the relevant work their way. Even offering a few tips or passing on details of the latest training courses can help spark a little inspiration.

In most cases this will be the end of the situation but it’s a good idea to keep a record of your chat, the steps you took and their subsequent behaviour. If nothing changes, you will need to approach a supervisor and may need proof to back up any claims.

Resist the urge to go straight to the boss without letting your colleague know first. This may be a difficult conversation but it’s better than pushing them into the deep end without any warning. Remember, you will still need to work alongside each other and doing the decent thing will safeguard your professional relationship in the long term.

Taking a proactive approach can seem daunting but it’s the only way to highlight the problem and resolve the issue before it really gets out of hand.

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