We’ve all been there – snowed under with work while certain colleagues sit around twiddling their thumbs. If you have colleagues who seem to disappear just when there is work to do, it can quickly become more than a little annoying. If you keep hearing the following sentences, then you are probably dealing with a typical shirker.
1. “Can you do that?” – they delegate as if their lives depend on it
Everyone has a bad day from time to time when nothing seems to go right. When that happens, it is nice if you can lean on your colleagues for support. However, lazy colleagues are always trying to offload their work onto others. Whether it’s a sob story or flattery: they’ll use any means to get someone else to do their work.
2. “I can’t do that because …” they’re all talk and no action
Lazy colleagues are generally not lacking in self-confidence: “I know that, I can do that, leave it to me”. But when push comes to shove, their confidence suddenly evaporates. There is only one phrase that comes to mind: All mouth and no trousers.
3. “Nothing to do with me, mate” – they always have a good excuse and no shame
It doesn’t matter what the problem is – lazy colleagues have no trouble finding an excuse. When things go wrong, they have always got a good reason why it is nothing to do with them. Taking responsibility or owning up to mistakes is the last thing on their mind.
4. “That’s how we’ve always done it” – they are afraid of change
Lazy people like to hide behind routines and reject out of hand virtually every attempt at improvement. Their fear of change is based on their fear of being forced to leave their comfort zone. It is always hard to drive through innovative new ideas with lazy people on board.
5. “Do we have to do that?” – they moan and whine all day
This is another typical question you are likely to hear more than once from a lazy colleague. Moaning about work is second nature to them, as is complaining about everything they have to do. By the end of the day, they have done more moaning about work than actual work.
6. “Then I’ll just go and ask the boss” – they never solve problems themselves
Another way of avoiding work is to take whatever problem they have upstairs. They consult a superior about every little thing. The hope is of course that the line manager will do some of the work for them or perhaps delegate it to someone else. And suddenly they have created time for other things.
7. “There’ll be time for that tomorrow” – they are constantly putting things off
Tomorrow is soon enough: One of the typical characteristics of a lazy colleague is his habit of putting work off for as long as possible. They don’t do anything until the very last minute when it absolutely can’t be put off any longer. Don’t hold your breath too long in anticipation.
8. “Have you heard about …?” – they are always gossiping
People who aren’t wasting their time working have that much more time to spend on the fun things in life. They spend their time at work gossiping about everyone and his dog. If the neighbor hasn’t mowed his lawn in two weeks, you’ll be the first to know.
9. “Who cares?” – additional work is an alien concept
When someone is already reluctant to do the bare minimum, they are unlikely to pull their finger out to pick up the slack when necessary. If it is not part of their job description, then good luck trying to get them to pitch in and help.
10. “It’s not worth starting now” – don’t expect them to do anything at the end of the day
Of course, there is no point starting a new project just before home time. But lazy colleagues are already winding down an hour before the whistle blows and are mentally out of the door and on their way home. Best ask someone else if you need help getting something finished before you leave for the day.
What can you do if you have lazy colleagues?
In most cases there is little choice but to accept the fact that you have to work with people who are lazy. Nevertheless, it is important to speak openly about problems. A constructive but firm conversation about specific issues is often helpful. If a meaningful discussion is not possible, then you should try and stay out of the way of difficult colleagues before they begin to affect your own motivation.