Best 6 Polite Tips for Dealing With a Lazy Coworker

  • September 1, 2021
  • by Kat Ciesielska
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How to deal with a lazy coworker? Probably you’ve also asked yourself this question. At least once in a lifetime. Lazy coworkers are part of every company. When they work in the other department it is easy to ignore them, but if they are part of the same team as you are… oh yes. It can be more than annoying.

You are everything, right. You’re at the office/work chat on time (mostly ;)), you are working hard every single day to accomplish all the goals, and what? And who gets an extra day off again? Karen, the lazy co.

Lazy coworker meme

But how can you change it? How to confront a lazy coworker? Do you actually need to do anything? Is it even your job to deal with lazy coworkers?

Even the situation caused people to make many lazy coworkers memes, and you can laugh about it… lazy colleagues at the office are not easy to handle. And there’s much more about it than people usually think.

50 shades of lazy coworkers

Ok, probably I can’t find the 50 different lazy coworkers’ types, but maybe you can help me in the comments section? If you know some great lazy coworkers’ jokes, hit me up too. Let’s laugh because why not? It’s better than crying.

But first, let’s focus on identifying some of the most common lazy coworkers. Probably you’ve met in your life at least one of them. All these types may be pretty funny to describe, but the reason I’m doing this is not just fun.

For every lazy coworker, there’s the one who’s not actually a lazy person. They can just go through some hard moments in their lives, and it’s worth thinking about it. Hurting people is easy when you act without any reflection.

Having this possible reasons in mind will help you to deal with coworker’s laziness in a polite way. It would be terrible if you hurt someone when they have big personal issues already.

“I feel very sick today” everyday lazy coworker.

My friend told me once about his coworker who actually never showed up at the work. And by “never” I mean exactly that. This happened in Poland, and the guy had mastered how the work-low there works.

He literally managed not to come to work through 7 months, while taking all the salary. Other colleagues figured out one day that it was a scam and that the guy didn’t have any health problems. Just connections and creative ideas on how to do nothing at home and “earn” money.

This is an extreme example of a lazy coworker who pretends to be sick, but I am certain that you know someone who also does it regularly. Dealing with a person like that is especially hard when you have some team project to do. It can directly affect your work performance.

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. Think carefully about it. Maybe you will be able to notice when your colleague started behaving differently and turned into lazy co.

Lazy sick coworker memes

“I have so much work to do” yelling lazy coworker.

Acting like a good employee while being the most lazy co around. Negatively impacting others because of constant tripping about work. This one is classic of every company.

This is the kind of the lazy coworker who walks around the office with a cup of coffee in their hand, serious face and heavy breath. Always looks like overwhelmed because of amount of the job to do but in reality… it’s just a slacker coworker.

At the end of the day, this person will not have any tasks properly done. In the best scenario, it’s not your concern. In the worst-case scenario, you will pay for the laziness of your colleague and have more job to do by yourself.

Possible reason for this lazy behavior: the most common reason for this behavior, besides pure laziness, is a problem with a project. Many people find their tasks really difficult, but they simply don’t want to admit it in front of the team. If they behave like this just from time to time and with other projects, they do good job, it can be this case.

Slack coworker meme

“Hard working on looking like working” lazy coworker.

This lazy coworker is harder to spot. That kind of person looks really focused, and spends most of the time in front of their computer with serious faces. You even feel bad when you want something from them because you feel like you’re disturbing.

However, after some period of time, everyone at the office already knows that it’s just a mask. Headphones are not supposed to help them in focus. It’s just the third part of the audiobook they’re listening to.

Angry keyboard writing is just the result of another argue on some silly forum on the Internet, and the focused face is… well, fake. They are professionals when it comes to pretending working, and they are not seen as lazy coworkers for a long time, before someone finds out.

Possible reason for this lazy behavior: this one is tough because usually, it’s really about coworker’s laziness. However, it can be also a sign of some personal issue. Maybe they have so big problems that they simply can’t focus on the job. They promise themselves every day to change it, but eventually cat memes win.

Slack coworker

“Not a manager but kind of managing” lazy coworker.

This lay coworker’s attitude is really hard to stand. How could you ignore a person who is just bossing around all the time, while not being a manager? This kind of coworker doesn’t do their own work, but always tell a boss if your coffee break is longer than appropriate 5 minutes. Even you’ve been working hard for previous 4 hours.

Somehow, this kind of person is behaving like their responsibility is just watching their colleagues. Some juniors will never know that’s not a real supervisor, and they will do the lazy coworker’s job.

Not every company is unlucky enough to have this kind of person on their board, but if you’ve got one in your team… than I am really sorry for you.

Possible reason for this lazy behavior: it may be hard to believe, but sometimes this lazy coworker is just trying to help. On the other hand, the reason can be a huge need of being noticed. Or just cooperating with others on the project.

Managing coworker meme

“Always on extremely important calls” lazy coworker.

Personal calls are nothing bad if you don’t hang on the phone all day. Sometimes there’s just a need to answer, especially when you have kids or a partner. But you know who exactly do I mean this time.

Lazy coworker who’s just glued to their phone. This type is hard to ignore, especially when they don’t even bother to go out of the coworking space. Endless calls during work hours, lunch break, and they are ready to go home. Who is dealing with their tasks? Well… probably you.

Possible reason for this lazy behavior: just look at their face during these calls. Big smile and lots of laugh mean that probably this call is really not necessary. However, serious tone of voice, nervous giggling or just the tension you feel are probably the sign of something bigger. There can be a huge family problem, relationship crisis, or something else that just requires your coworker’s attention during working hours. Before you decide to act, try to analyze the situation from the other perspective.

Personal calls at job meme

How to deal with a lazy coworker?

Dealing with a lazy coworker isn’t a piece of cake, even you already know what their type is. That is why I’ve prepared for you an example of the strategy. It is worth to try. There’s nothing to lose, isn’t it?

1. Wait before acting

Noticing that your coworker is not engaged in the project can be really annoying. However, this is not a good moment to report them to the boss or start negative comments. If it’s the first time, then probably the reason is not the laziness.

Starting conversation with your coworker when you’re angry is never a good idea. Take few breaths, think if it’s the first situation like this. If it doesn’t affect your own work a lot, ignoring it will be ok. Everybody has a bad day at work from time to time.

Even you already know that’s not the case, calming down firstly is the best way.

2. Put yourself in their shoes

When you’re already calm, analyzing the situation will be easier. Think carefully about your lazy coworker’s behavior. Is it not the first time you notice this laziness? Maybe the situation is similar to the previous one? Maybe it’s all about the tough task?

Did something happen in the life of this person? Going through someone’s sickness, getting divorced or having money troubles can be really hard. In cases like that, it’s actually pretty obvious that your colleague’s work won’t be perfectly done.

Check the list of lazy coworkers’ types and focus on possible reasons of that behavior.

3. Ask about others’ opinion.

Is it possible that this lazy person annoys just you? Of course, it is. Maybe there’s something you just don’t like about them. Maybe you have your own personal problems that make you see things differently. Maybe your point of view is entirely different from others’.

Ask other workers you trust (not the queen of office gossips ;)) what do they think about the person you find as a slack coworker. Are you the only one thinking that way, or there’s more of you?

If you’re the only one, there’s a huge change, you’re overreacting. There is probably no sense to act then.

4. Talk to them honestly

Cooperating with a lazy coworker is not easy. But cooperating with a snitch is equally uncomfortable. Always talk to your colleagues first about their bad habits. Going straight to your boss will negatively affect relations in your team.

Noticing that something is wrong is a healthy attitude. Let them know that you see the change in their work. Speak to them with confidence, but also with empathy. Don’t attack anyone. Always remember that the reason of their behavior can be something else than laziness (yes, I will be repeating myself about that).

Maybe your coworker doesn’t even realize that change. Remember to talk about the situation when you’re both calm, and find a place where other workers won’t hear your conversation.

5. Offer them help

Knowing that the reason of your lazy coworker’s behavior is not necessarily laziness is the one thing. Even when you decide to speak to them, there’s no guarantee that they will just tell you what’s really bothering them.

That is why offer help, even they didn’t tell you about any troubles. Tell about your point of view, but also show that you’re there for them. You’re in it together, let them know about it.

Offering some help in certain tasks or even helpful resources you’re using may open up your coworker. They might share with you, and you’ll be finally on the same page.

6. Give them some time

At some point, you will need to wait. Even if you put your best effort into helping your coworker to get their motivation back, miracles don’t happen overnight. This is all about the long-term fix, and it requires some time.

Waiting is never pleasant, but don’t destroy all the work you’ve already done because of impatience. Your lazy coworker needs to make some changes, and it takes time. To make all the thing easier, you can set up the deadline together.

7. Talk to your leader

This is the time. If your lazy coworker didn’t even try to change, and you feel like that’s never gonna happen, waiting is over. You need to go to your supervisor and talk about the situation. If it’s possible to not engage the boss yet, it would be good. Don’t make it so big.

At this point, you’re not a discourteous person or a snitch anymore. If your lazy coworkers destroy your work, you just need to act. Someone else’s laziness just shouldn’t affect you.

How to motivate whole team?

Sometimes it’s not simple laziness. It can be a low morale, caused by not just problems in their personal lives, but also some company’s issues. Failure with the last project, unfair boss, poor collaboration, very hard tasks and much more.

Good leader should take care of motivating everyone. Talking to workers depending on their personalities, showing possible solutions when people hit the wall, helping them in large and small ways.

The right tool will be a great help, also when your organization is dealing with lazy habits of some employees.

Retirement meme

Time tracking software is one of the tools that companies find as the most helpful when it comes to fighting with performance issues and lack of motivation. It shows how people spend their time at work and which activities take the most of their time.

You can simply see which tasks are the most time-consuming, who deals with them faster, what is distracting your people and how often.

What’s the most important thing for the team is that TimeCamp is fair. Lazy coworkers will be noticed, and those who work really hard as well. If someone has problem with a hard task, manager will be able to see it, even this person is shy and scared to ask for help.

Allowing people to see their coworkers’ performance will motivate them as well. You can even make contests each month. For example, the employee who spends the time just on productive activities, will win a half-day off.

There are many ways to use time tracking system to boost performance. Our customers find their own ideas and test them out each month. What’s great about TimeCamp is that the software has also a free version. You can try it out without risking anything!

Do you want to motivate your team and boost performance? Start with TimeCamp now!

Lazy conclusion

A lazy coworker can be a real pain on your… head. Try to use these tips and I really hope that your life at the office will be much easier. The right tool will make it even more flawless.

And just before you go… one more meme 😉

Lazy coworker meme

Kat Ciesielska

Freelancer copywriter and salesman. Currently, in love with timeboxing time management (using TimeCamp). Writing since childhood (the story about dwarfs was the first one ever). Bookworm, foodie, gamer & nature lover (yes, she walks without shoes sometimes).

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