How Can You Deal with Lazy Coworkers?

5 min readJan 13, 2021
Photo be Jordan Whitfield

Do you have coworkers that refuse to be productive or do their work? Sometimes it feels like doing a group project but being the only person to complete your tasks, right? It’s irritating, stressful, and downright rude.

How can you cope with this? You aren’t responsible for the behavior of your coworkers, but something needs to be done so you aren’t left with a heavier workload than you deserve.

We want to teach you how to deal with lazy coworkers and potentially get them in a hardworking mindset. It’s not easy to deal with people who aren’t willing to do the work that they’re assigned, but we want to help.

Keep reading for our tips and tricks for dealing with lazy coworkers and getting them (and yourself) back on track.

1. Set Boundaries

Not enough people know about boundaries and how they can be used in the workplace. A boundary is a “rule” that helps you protect yourself and your mental health. It tells people how to treat you.

In the workplace, this can look a few different ways.

First, make sure that no one tries to get your attention for trivial things during your work time. This means that if you aren’t interested in gossip or small talk while you’re working, you make this known.

Another important boundary that’s difficult for many people is simply saying “no.”

Why is this so hard? Many of us are hard-wired to help, especially when our jobs and projects are on the line. Helping is fine, but completing tasks that aren’t your responsibility will cause burnout and resentment.

Learn to exercise firmness and put “no” back into your vocabulary. Stick to it. Your coworkers will push up against you at first, but as time goes by, they’ll learn that they can’t rely on you to complete tasks for them.

2. Talk to Them About It

It’s possible that your coworkers have no idea that they’re being lazy. This might sound impossible to you, but try to think of things from their perspective.

They may be burnt out, tired, or used to a different working environment. They may have no idea that their actions (or lack thereof) are impacting the people around them. Having an honest conversation about your feelings is a great way to help them understand, and it won’t cause any bad blood if you keep it civil.

3. Don’t Let Emotions Build Up

It’s easy to get angry and emotional when something like this happens. After all, you’re doing all of the extra work for none of the extra pay.

You can’t let yourself get resentful. This could cause you to boil over, and that won’t help anyone. Instead, talk to your fellow employees early on. Getting angry with them may cause them to get defensive, exacerbating the problem at hand.

You want to talk to your coworkers with kindness, understanding, and firmness. You won’t be able to do this if you’re too upset.

4. Document the Problem

If work is consistently not being done, it’s time to document what’s happening. Take note of situations that frustrate you, including times and dates.

This is helpful because you can point out specific problems to your coworkers when it’s time to talk to them. Vague ideas of problems aren’t helpful; they might not remember.

This also helps you in the event that you have to talk to other coworkers or management to help solve the problem.

5. Offer Guidance

While you shouldn’t offer help in the form of doing tasks for other people, there’s nothing wrong with suggesting helpful ways for your coworkers to improve. After all, their “laziness” might actually be the result of them not knowing how to be productive.

Teaching someone how to do something is more effective than doing the thing for them. They’ll learn more through doing than through watching you do the task (if they even bother to watch).

Consider yourself a mentor to these people and you may see significant results.

6. Suggest Helpful Software and Problem-Solving Ideas

Many people have difficulty with time management and problem-solving. This isn’t laziness; it’s stress, perfectionism, and a tendency to get overwhelmed when work gets too difficult.

This is where software and problem-solving ideas come in.

There are great software options available that help workers keep track of their tasks and the time that they should allot to each one. This is more effective than a planner or notepads for people who don’t do well with visual planning.

You can also suggest problem-solving techniques that have helped you in the past. There are plenty of ways to boost your productivity in the workplace.

7. Tell a Higher-Up

Sometimes people don’t get the hint. You aren’t responsible for fixing your coworkers’ behavior, so it might be time to let someone else take control of the situation.

You don’t have to feel like a “tattle-tale” when you tell management about your situation. A manager will be better able to handle the situation and get your fellow employees on track.

Management should also be aware of any interpersonal problems and productivity problems so they can have a more efficient business and so you don’t get blamed for the lack of work.

Let management know how this situation has affected you, and bring up the documented situations that you’d recorded earlier. This way they’ll have something tangible to refer to when they confront your coworkers.

Do You Know How to Deal with Lazy Coworkers?

You aren’t responsible for all of the work that your fellow employees are putting on you when they don’t do it on their own. Learning how to deal with lazy coworkers is essential for any employee who wants to be successful.

If you’re looking for productivity and time management help, we have you covered. Check out our site and try a free trial to see if our products can help you and your team with any productivity problems. Manage your time with ease by using actiTIME.




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