Lazy co-workers – is there one bugging you?

Over the last few weeks I have had a number of clients grumbling about lazy co-workers. Working alongside these people who clash with our work ethic and values can be extremely energy zapping and if you don’t have coping strategies it can result in damage to your own career reputation.

Some of the common traits of these co-workers are:

  • going to the gym during lunch break then returning 70-80 minutes later only to eat their lunch at their desk for another 20-30 minutes
  • whenever you walk past their desk they are either on Trade Me, Facebook or surfing the net
  • they have a continual stream of personal calls during core working hours.

It is also no surprise that these people are normally first in line to complain when the pressure comes on or if they think someone else is being overpaid for what they do.

It is a topic I could write pages and pages on but as this is a blog here are my top four strategies for coping with the lazy co-worker.

Don’t allow them to distract you. Try to stay focused on your own work. If you’re struggling find a quiet room, see if there is an opportunity to move out of their line of sight, or as a last resort invest in earphones and listen to music. Don’t spend your day focusing on the fact that your lazy co-worker is constantly checking Facebook, talking about non-work issues to other co-workers or popping to the Post Office to post off their Trade Me sales. This will only result in you having to work longer hours or missing deadlines yourself.

Don’t let them affect your career reputation. A lazy colleague can hinder your progress on your projects or deadlines. Manage your Manager by communicating there is a risk of the deadline being missed. This is your opportunity to speak up, if you haven’t done so already. Most importantly to keep your reputation in tack don’t get drawn in to office gossip or complain to other colleagues. It won’t stop them from being lazy and it’s not professional. If you waste your time and energy on being angry or annoyed about your lazy colleague, your work performance may start slipping and you may be less pleasant to be around. A hostile, grumpy or snappy colleague is just as bad as a lazy one.

Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the issue of fairness. As we have all learnt “life isn’t fair”. As hard as it is focus on investing your energy on being the best that you can be.

So my challenge to you this week is if you are working alongside a Lazy Co-worker put the above strategies in place as at the end of the day it’s all about managing your career reputation. If you’re lucky enough not to be in this position, but know somebody who is, “lean in” and share this blog with them.

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