How to Deal With Co-Workers Who Lack Work Ethics

Working overtime isn't the way to deal with a lazy co-worker.
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You conquer that stack of work in your inbox ahead of schedule only to discover that your team is still hopelessly behind on productivity goals. You get set to deliver a killer group presentation only to find that your co-worker has failed to complete her assigned part. Sure, you could put on a superhero cape and finish everyone’s assignments but, where does it end? Stop complaining and take action.

    Step 1

    Check for understanding. While your co-worker should be aware of his duties, this is not guaranteed. Slick co-workers may use “not knowing” as a way to escape accountability. Go over duties, guidelines and expectations with co-workers. Emphasize the need to adhere to policies with those in the know.

    Step 2

    Limit interactions that don’t have direct workplace implications. Being associated with lazy co-workers can affect your reputation. It also makes it more difficult for you to complain about their bad habits. If dealing with co-workers is a must, ensure you don’t engage in any activities that will negatively affect your credibility.

    Step 3

    Submit top-notch work every time. You can’t use your co-worker’s laziness as an excuse to submit error-riddled, incomplete assignments. Pointing the finger may even produce a boomerang effect, resulting in more scrutiny for you. Ensure you follow all guidelines when completing duties. Seek clarification from a supervisor whenever you face difficulties. Informing your team of your progress when completing group projects gives you witnesses.

    Step 4

    Make sure you're pulling your weight. Working with lazy co-workers can make you more apathetic and cynical. This is especially true when dealing with charismatic slackers. Adhere to strong work principles no matter how appealing procrastinating may seem. Separate from the pack at the first signs of deteriorating work habits.

    Step 5

    Drop hints about your dissatisfaction. This is especially appealing if direct confrontations seem overwhelming. Meet any jokes about blowing off work with shrewd retorts. Comment about your lack of recreational time due to the heavy workload. Ask questions such as “How do you get all of your work done?” and “What scheduling software do you use?” Giving productivity related gifts for special occasions can reinforce your message.

    Step 6

    Alert your supervisor in private. While this may not be a desirable action, neither is taking the blame for a lackadaisical co-worker. Express your issues with clear, concise language. Rambling will prolong your discomfort and might make you lose your nerve. Discuss specific examples of bad work ethics and how they affected your performance. Stress that your concerns are legitimate and not fueled by personal issues. Practice your delivery prior to the big reveal.

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