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Office Chat: The Lazy Co-worker

5:20 PM, Mar 4, 2010   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Your 9-to-5 job is turning into a ten hour work day.  Thanks to the lazy co-worker, you have to pick up the slack.

"Being forced to work with someone who never seems to pull their weight," is never fun said Paul Fadil, a professor at the University of North Florida.

Handling the lazy co-worker is the topic of Office Chat on Good Morning Jacksonville.

Finding a good teammate is hard, and Dr. Paul says there is a reason why we have so many problems when working in groups or teams.

"We actually prefer working by ourselves instead of in a team," said Dr. Paul.  "Nobody dreams of being the back-up dancer for Hanna Montana.  We want to be Hanna Montana."

Though we may think a co-worker is a slacker, our radar could be a bit off.

"We have a natural bias of overestimating our own contributions and undervaluing the contributions of others," said Dr. Paul.  "This is because we know everything about what we do, and so little about what others do, so we think we are contributing more."

The Slacker in a Fragile Economy

One would expect people to work hard in an age where they could be out of work tomorrow.  "The reality is that they are working hard for no raises or very little reward," said Dr. Paul.  The result is a dip in performance.

"People are feeling frustrated and insecure so they spend their time talking about their issues rather than getting work done," added Dr. Paul.


There are three things you can do to deal with a lazy co-worker:

  • Ignore the situation
  • Pick up the slack
  • Confront the situation head-on

It's not an easy talk.  To avoid the lazy co-worker turning defensive:

  • Focus on the situation, not the person.  Present facts
  • Explain the impact of behavior on the company
  • Listen to their side of the story
  • Reach out and advise what needs to be done
  • Be persistent

You may have to go to a supervisor if the behavior remains unchanged.

If you have a comment for Dr. Paul, leave it below, or tell us what's on your mind on facebook.

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