Getting frustrated with your coworker? Are they being lazy and making you do all the work? I know the feeling.
Here in New Zealand there is a term called “riding”.
It means coworkers taking advantage of you and leaving you most of the workload.
This can be extremely frustrating when all you want to do is come to work, do a good job and go home.
You don’t want to get caught up in drama and BS that usually comes with a job.
However, that’s in a perfect world and we have far from a perfect world.
Although we can’t always have the ideal day, we can at least make it as close as possible.
And in this article I want to help you sort your coworkers out, to stop them being lazy so you can get on with your job and do the best you can.
What Makes a Lazy Coworker?
They aren’t hard to spot, as there is at least one in every job.
This number increases in bigger companies such as my old meat processing job.
I was stuck in one very large room with at least 200 people, 8 hours a day.
Needless to say, there were a lot of lazy workers.
Here’s how to spot the lazy coworker:
1. They are Always Late…Always
They are last to come in in the morning (often times they look like they don’t even want to be there), they are the first to head off to break, the last to come back and the first to leave at the end of the day.
And the worst part?
They usually expect you to cover them while they have extended breaks and leave before everyone else at the end of the day.
2. They are Full of Excuses
For every bit of bad behavior, they have an excuse…every…single…time.
They are the ones to say they had to clean their equipment again, there were no vacant toilets or they were talking to the boss.
For every action there is an excuse and trust me, they never run out of them.
3. They are Very Apologetic
They think just because they apologize that their behavior is justified.
They usually come in from a long break saying sorry while following up with their excuse they quickly made up while walking back to their workstation.
But we all know they are just lazy and taking advantage of everyone else.
Actions speak louder than words, and this mans actions speak for everything he does.
Saying sorry over and over again just doesn’t cut the mustard, mate.
Determine If They’re Lazy or Actually Just Dumb
I speak from experience with this one.
I use to work at a meat processing plant and knew a lot of the jobs.
Often times I would come across coworkers that I thought were lazy, but they just didn’t know how to do the job properly.
Often times they just don’t know because no one told them. This can be due to lack of training. They think it’s your job so they will not worry about it.
Being on the other end of the stick can be frustrating because now you feel someone is taking advantage of you.
Now you have to take it upon yourself to tell that person that it is their job and not yours.
When you don’t tell them and you continue doing it, they aren’t going to know. They aren’t mind readers.
So sometimes they’re not always lazy, they just haven’t been told ALL of their responsibilities in that specific position.
Is it Once, Twice or Habitual?
There’s a difference between helping coworkers when they need to visit the rest room and doing most of their work the entire day.
The former is called teamwork and it’s actually a good thing.
Being able to work efficiently with others and make everything run smoothly increases your teamwork skills and makes you a better professional.
But don’t mix that up with someone that’s ALWAYS wanting you to do things for them.
It’s gone from teamwork to taking advantage and this is where you draw the line.
Now you have to say “no”.
Don’t take Action if it Doesn’t Affect You
If this coworkers actions does not directly affect you, you should keep it that way and not make it your problem.
There’s a saying that you should abide by.
“Stay in your own lane”
Meaning focus on your own goals and dreams, do what’s best for you, do what makes you happy and focus only on that.
Getting caught up in all the noise of the big bad world can knock you off your path and slow down the process of your success.
On the other hand, if this persons actions is affecting you and your ability to work at peak performance, then it is your problem and you need to do something about it.
Avoid Gossiping (It Usually Worsens the Situation)
Gossiping about lazy coworkers is only going to worsen the situation.
And if you catch someone else trying to gossip to you, just avoid it or change the subject.
When you gossip you’re opening up a whole new world and perspective in the workplace.
Gossip creates rumors and rumors destroy careers.
Now tell me, do you want to be apart of that? Of course not.
Plus gossiping isn’t going to solve your problem, it will make you hate the person even more.
The grown-up thing to do is talk to them, discuss your differences and see if you can make a change.
If not, go to your higher up.
Communicate With Them
Talk to them and tell them what they are doing is affecting you and your work life.
Communication is key and should be your first action towards fixing this problem.
This does NOT mean causing a scene. You do not need to shout across the room.
Doing this will only get you in trouble and make you look like the bad one.
All you need to do is have a quiet word when you get a chance with that person.
Now you know you have done your part and the rest is in their hands.
They now have a choice to do a better job and not be so lazy or they can keep being a bad coworker and get in even more trouble.
Because now if they don’t do anything about it, you can go higher and talk with your superior.
What to Say to Your Lazy Coworker
This is actually really simple.
Just ask to have a quiet word with them and tell them they are making your job harder as you have to pick up their slack.
Ask if they can try a little harder but you’ll still be there to help them if they ever need it.
They will then realize how lazy they have been and more often than not they will do a better job.
You could also ask if they are struggling to keep up with their tasks and responsibilities.
If so, offer some guidance on how to manage their tasks better. Work smarter not harder is the goal here 🙂
Talking to them quietly without shouting or accusing them of things will create a bond and more trust with you.
They will like you more and actually WANT to do better so they don’t upset you again.
Talk to Your Manager
I know this is frowned upon by most people and it’s not good to tell on someone, but this may be the only other option.
You’ve tried to do something about it but they don’t want to listen or change their ways. Now you have no choice.
If they can’t be reasoned with, going to the manager is the last option.
Of course try to sort out your differences multiple times first before going to the manager.
Don’t just go running off and telling on them at the first chance you get.
This isn’t kindergarten people! We are grown ass adults and we can sort this stuff out ourselves!
If it’s not your problem, don’t make it your problem
If it’s not affecting you, leave it and carry on with your job.
If you need to sort out a problem, pull the person aside and have a quiet word.
Those are the biggest takeaways here.
It’s really that simple to sort out a lazy coworker.
Usually they don’t know how much they are affecting other people until they are told, and by letting them know, they can fix it and everyone can get on with their jobs.
What problems do you face with your lazy coworker? Tell us in the comments below!