12 Tips for Dealing with Lazy Coworkers | 2022 Job Tips

Teamwork is a key part of productivity in every successful organization. Every organization thrives on the contribution of every person on board to achieve its goals and targets.

A single weak link in a system like this can have a ripple effect on the performance of an entire department or in worst cases affect the whole organization.

Having this in mind brings up the challenge of what you should do when one or more of your esteemed colleagues constantly refuse to put in good enough effort in his or her work.

In this situation, you might feel that it is not your responsibility but when his or her lapses start having a significant negative effect on the company’s output and growth, you may be the one to be blamed. To minimize the possibility of this happening, you might need to consider taking action.

At this point, you may be wondering how to confront your lazy colleague and how exactly you should do it or maybe even asking yourself whether it’s your job to do so. The truth is that handling lazy colleagues at work is not an easy task.

While you’re confused of the right step to take, this article will give you the right tips to take when dealing with a lazy coworker.

How You Can Tell That Your Colleague Is Lazy

Lazy colleagues impose a huge risk on a whole department and cause the team to feel bad. Below are some of the signs that can tell that your colleague isn’t doing his or her work:

They Always Seem Stressed Out But Never Say Why:

One popular way employees use to mask their laziness at work is to appear so busy and stressed but refuse to explain why they feel so to their colleagues.

Often, a good colleague will offer to help them complete their tasks and this isn’t a good work ethic if it happens frequently.

Lazy employees try to deceive their colleagues by making them think that they are stressed all the time.

If you’re comfortable with a colleague that seems lazy, read through to know How To Set Boundaries At Work

They are rarely at their desk:

Lazy employees know they are supposed to be working but they’d rather choose to stay idle. One way they achieve idleness is to make themselves scarce at their desk.

This way, their colleagues may assume that they are doing some important tasks like having client calls and staying in meetings while they are just away killing their time.

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Aside lazy colleague, read this 10 Types of Annoying Coworkers and Learn How to Deal with them

They have an excuse for everything:

Lazy coworkers always have an excuse to give whenever they are questioned why they haven’t done something.

They usually, will go the extra steps to convince most of their colleagues and if you end up calling them out, they start to play the victim.

In this case, you may want to raise an issue with the superior and let them know what’s going on.

At this point, you need to understand how to manage constructive criticism in the workplace, see the best way to do that here; How to Handle Constructive Criticism in the Workplace | 2022

12 Tips for Dealing with Lazy Coworkers

Nagging and resentment towards your lazy coworker won’t make issues better. Below are some tips you can use to deal with them effectively while being polite and professional:

1. Wait Before Acting:

After you notice that your coworker is not actively doing his or her job, going straight to report his or her bad attitude to your boss or start negative comments might not be the best option especially if it’s his or her first time acting this way.

At this point, you are probably angry with his or her attitude but starting a conversation with your coworker while you are angry may turn out to not be a good professional experience. You should ignore them if their work doesn’t affect you that much.

Read through this article to understand the 10 Best Leadership Styles in the Workplace | 2022

2. Empathize with them:

You should stay calm and analyze the situation after you discover that your coworker is not putting in adequate effort in his job.

It is better to empathize with them first to know if something is wrong with them especially if they have not always shown a been lazy at work.

One way to empathize with your colleague is to surprise your colleague with a message. Read this 15 Thanksgiving Message to Coworkers | 2022 Samples to get the best message to send to your colleague.

3. Ask other coworkers about their opinion:

Before you go ahead to take correctional measures on the lazy attitude of your coworker, you should ask others about their opinion on the lazy attitude of your coworker at work.

This is to make sure that you are not acting out of some bias towards the other person and to confirm that you are not the only person taking it seriously.

4. Talk To Them Honestly:

Cooperating with a lazy coworker can be difficult but going straight to the boss to report them will affect the relations in your team negatively.

It is better to just go straight to talk to this coworker after you notice their negative attitude towards work to let them know that you see what they are doing.

Always remember to empathize with them while you discuss with them because sometimes there may be another reason for their behavior other than laziness.

Sometimes, they may not even notice the change. Interrogate calmly to not draw the attention of others.

5. Don’t Let Them Distract You:

Don’t spend your whole day focusing on the fact that your coworker is constantly checking Instagram, texting, snoring, and just being lazy.

You should try to not be distracted by their actions.

6. Don’t Let Their Work Be Your Responsibility:

While your lazy coworker may be on the same team as you or share similar responsibilities, it is better that you don’t pick up the work they are not doing.

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Instead, you should try to always remind them of their tasks and deadlines. Avoid wasting your time trying to babysit your lazy coworkers.

7. Don’t Let It Affect Your Attitude:

Never let your coworker’s lazy attitude towards their work be a burden to you. This is because being angry or annoyed at your coworker’s lazy attitude towards work may just be a huge waste of time for you and may even affect your productivity and you may appear to become less productive to others while you’re trying to correct another person.

8. Don’t Get Caught Up In The Issue Of Fairness:

You mustn’t waste your time telling yourself that life isn’t fair if your lazy coworker gets away with doing nothing.

This is because, at the end of the day, it does not change anything and will make you feel bad. Just focus on doing the best you can do at work.

9. Don’t Let Affect Your Success:

Focusing much on your lazy coworker can hinder your progress at work. Also, when your boss notices that you don’t complete your work before or at the appointed time, he will turn to blame you.

If your work relies heavily on the full participation of your lazy coworker, then communicate the issue to your boss whenever he raises the issue.

10. Try To Avoid Projects That Will Require Your Lazy Coworker’s Full Capacity:

If your coworker is chronically lazy and every attempt to make him better has failed then you have to consider twice when choosing projects that will require him to put in his best effort.

If you can’t avoid the project, then factor in their laziness into your schedule. Also, don’t agree to time frames that assume that they will deliver so you will have enough time allocated to the project in case things don’t go the best path.

11. Don’t Gossip Or Complain To Other Coworkers:

You should try to not gossip about the lazy attitude of your coworker with other colleagues at work as it is unprofessional and may lead to unnecessary hatred and division among team members.

12. Talk To Your Manager:

If you have raised concerns with your coworker or coworkers that have developed a lazy attitude towards their work and still nothing has changed, then it is right for you to take your complaints to a higher authority at your workplace like the manager.

While taking these complaints to the manager, you have to be careful so you won’t be misunderstood for trying to undermine your coworker’s potential promotion or harm their career in some way.

To support your complaints, it’s better to keep a log of their actions so you can draw upon specific examples when questioned.

How to Motivate a Lazy Coworker

It is not the duty of an employee to motivate other employees rather it is the job of the boss. However, colleagues can also in several ways help to encourage their coworkers to put forth professional effort and keep the workplace more productive.

You should also be cautious in your attempts to encourage your coworkers so you don’t overstep your bounds and your motives to correct a lazy coworker would seem like harassment.

Below are just a few ways you can employ to motivate your lazy coworker:

Set a Good Example:  

You can motivate your coworker by performing your duties at work to the best of your abilities, not nagging about your boss or your company.

Setting good examples helps your lazy coworkers to see value in your initiatives and dedication and will even get more motivated to do hard work when they see the company rewards your efforts.

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Give Positive Feedback:

Be grateful and praise your lazy coworkers when they put in extra effort in their work. This way you reward and encourage their positive professional behaviors.

This also helps them to understand that their input is appreciated.

Ask For Their Help:

Sometimes your lazy coworker might be reluctant to participate in any project at work because he is doubtful of his abilities and has not been allowed to learn or perform.

You can motivate them by inviting them to a project or asking for their help to complete a task.

Bring in Reinforcements:

If you have tried to motivate your lazy coworker in several ways and it all ends in vain. Probably, his attitude is hurting your performance on the job negatively and the situation is beyond your control.

At this point, you should talk to your boss about the issue so they can help him become serious.

You can also motivate your lazy coworkers to do better work by offering to help them do something in return.


Lazy people are present in almost every organization and they are difficult to deal with. Most dedicated and committed professionals often get frustrated by lazy coworkers who don’t share the same level of motivation, pride, and ambition. It’s important to not allow their negative attitude towards their work affects your life.

If you are currently dealing with a lazy coworker then, the tips stated above will help you handle them fairly.

In the meantime don’t be distracted by their actions or allow the quality of your work to suffer. Also, don’t forget to be professional while you do your best at work

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the signs of a lazy coworker?

A lazy coworker will often display bad behavior at work like shying away from their duties, being absent at meetings, never contributing in meetings, having an excuse for everything.

Whose is responsible for motivating the lazy coworker?

It is usually the job of the managers or supervisors to motivate their lazy employees. You can still contribute to motivate these individuals but be careful while doing so, so you don’t go beyond your bounds.

What do you say to a lazy coworker?

You should politely communicate to them how their behavior is affecting your performance or output at work. Also, you can offer to help them overcome their behavior.

How do you tell your boss about your lazy coworker?

You should gently and clearly state your problem to your boss. You can also suggest a better workflow to your boss that will help your lazy coworker improve.

How do you motivate your lazy coworker?

You can help to motivate your lazy coworkers by giving them positive feedback, praising and encouraging their extra efforts, asking for their assistance in a project.

Can you be fired for laziness?

Yes, you can be fired for being lazy, especially if the poor performance significantly affects your company negatively.



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