There’s a culprit in every office. The shift evader, early leaver, the person who manages to cruise through work while everyone else struggles to compensate. The career equivalent of that group work team member who does absolutely nothing, then turns up smiling to claim their grade. Courtesy of your hard work. And although we’re all for team work, it’s important you deal with these issues
freeloaders before your resentment bubbles over. It’s time to handle this like a responsible adult, we believe in you.
Check Your Point Of View
If they’re clocking out at 5pm while you work past dinner and have the audacity to take their lunch break, it’s time you check your perception of the issue. Are they really being lazy or just doing the bare minimum? Technically if their behaviour is to the letter of their contract, they’re not doing anything wrong. Will they impress the boss or be next in line for a promotion? Probably not and let that be your comfort. Just because you work hard doesn’t mean everyone has that work ethic.
But of course, if they’re actually slacking and underperforming unnoticed, you have every right to be pissed. Depending on the size of your team, you’re surely not the only one to notice. Not to say gang up on them, but just check out other people’s views on the matter before you take it higher up. It’s not about what’s fair unfortunately.
Don’t Do Their Work For Them
You’re not their mum, patsy or even their friend if they expect you to do work on their behalf. It may start out like a single form, or extra email correspondence but before you know it you’re knee deep in briefs while they sit at home bingeing on The Walking Dead. Not fair. It’s important to set your boundaries early on. You’re under no obligation to do their work and if your superior demands a team product that they haven’t contributed to enough, make sure you deal with it at the time. Better than letting it fester, believe you me.
Converse Don’t Confront
No matter how angry and overworked you are, it’s important to give them the benefit of the doubt. If you shout, screech and abuse, you’ll come off like the irrational one. Bring it up in a casual setting and look to implement solutions or targets for the next task at hand. This is of course tricky if they’re your superior, in which case tread with extra caution. They could misconstrue your efforts to share the workload fairly as a power play, not good. Instead ask for extra assistance and request their expertise, the ego stroking will work wonders for most.
You don’t know their home situation, what the higher ups have said or any health issues they may have, so be kind. It feels incredibly shitty to be called lazy when you’re struggling. Handle this first encounter with grace and tact, that way you’ll be in a better position if things need to progress.
Stick To The Facts
Don’t comb through their inbox or watch them religiously as they scroll Facebook with no regard for office decorum. Instead gather evidence to take to your superior so you have clear proof of their poor work form. Didn’t do any work on the client file? Note that shit down. Didn’t log into the excel spreadsheet once? Screenshot it. Or just write out a list, that way you have clear instances of slacking rather than wingeing and whining.
When you’re talking to the coworker in question, apply this practice too. It’s key to leave the emotion out of it and stick to their failure to do work.
Can I Speak To The Manager?
Only do this when you’ve tried to handle it yourself, but know when to wash your hands of the problem. If your colleague is comfortable coasting by, has responded with hostility or nodded and then continued to do the same shit, take it upstairs. Phrase it right and all should be resolved without anymore of your interference. Take your evidence and hold yourself with maturity. No matter how sleep deprived you are. Your manager will have to respond with due diligence if you’ve handled it calmly.
Step Up Or Leave
No, don’t give them an ultimatum, unless you’re the boss. But once you’ve passed it on to the manager, it’s no longer in your hands. Pray they’ll step up or leave. It’s not easy to sit idly by, but sometimes management has other reasons for keeping someone on board. And unless you’re privy to that information, it’s not worth your job to throw a tantrum about it. If it continues, follow up with your manager following the same process of evidence. And if it’s unresolved perhaps it’s your boss that’s lazy not your coworker.
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