A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and if your weakest link is a coworker who is practically asleep on the job, things are going to be a lot harder for your team. Dealing with a slacker coworker is a delicate situation. You can’t exactly yell at them, and if you don’t have any authority over them, you might feel stuck. Stop thinking about what you can’t do and start thinking about what you can do to get your lazy coworker back on the right track.
Conduct Status Checks with The Slacker
Don’t assume your coworker is just lazy without some actual proof. Your coworker may simply be stretched too thin, attempting to handle too much at once. This can be slowing down their pace, reducing the quality of their work, or leading them straight into burnout.
Ask the coworker what they’re currently handling at how much they anticipate being able to accomplish by the deadline. You might need to redelegate some tasks to make things happen at the necessary pace. If the coworker has a lot of excuses that don’t check out or has a long history of underperforming, you might be right to assume their slacker status.
Do Your Own Work and Prove Your Accountability
If you’re not at a point where you’re willing to throw your lazy coworker under the bus, don’t worry about what the coworker is doing. You’re going to become so stressed that you’ll have difficulty meeting your own obligations. Make sure you stay organized and create lists that show what you did and when you did it. Stay as productive as possible. If all of your tasks are being accomplished, no one can blame you for the shortcomings of others.
Don’t Pick Up The Slack
The worst thing you can do is overcompensate for a lazy coworker. The coworker will take it for granted, and you’ll wind up doing their heavy lifting until the end of time. You have your own obligations to meet, and the quality of your performance may suffer if you’re constantly picking up the slack for someone else. Don’t tarnish your professional reputation, and don’t give a freeloader an exclusive pass to continue their behavior.
Approach Your Boss Carefully
Nobody likes a rat, and you don’t have to be one in order to approach your boss about the situation. If your lazy coworker is continuously making things difficult, you’re going to need to make someone aware of the situation. You don’t need to directly implement the coworker – you just need to give your boss the information that he or she needs to see it for themselves.
Mention everything that you’ve done, and who you’re waiting on. If you’re still waiting on Dave or Karen to complete something so you can continue, tell your boss you’ll have your end of the work done as soon as the other person provides what they need to provide. It’s up to your boss to motivate that employee. If they fail to deliver, your boss will automatically know who is responsible.
When you’re dealing with the frustrations that come with a lazy coworker, all you need to do is your very best. If you can prove that you’re excelling where you need to excel, you don’t have to worry about seeing the repercussions.