Common Workplace Problems: What to do if members of your team aren’t picking up the slack

Do you feel like you’re compensating for the laziness of a co-worker? Does someone you work with always seem to be browsing TikTok instead of doing their job? Or do they always seem to be running personal errands or taking non work-related calls? If so, it’s likely to be affecting not only your workload but also the rest of the team’s.

Here are a few tips for dealing with this common workplace problem:

Don’t let them distract you and try to focus on yourself

If the fact that they’re not picking up the slack is already adding to your workload, don’t make life even harder for yourself by letting anger or frustration get in the way of you doing a good job. If you need help ignoring them, try these apps for helping you focus at work.

Don’t waste your time being hostile or angry

Remember that you are responsible for your own actions and those actions are a reflection on you. Work hard, do your job well, behave maturely and focus on your own end goal – a successful career. Equally, their actions reflect on your co-workers too. Their behaviour won’t go unnoticed forever and generally you will be rewarded for your hard work in the long run.

Don’t do their work for them

If they’re procrastinating, don’t make it easy for them to continue with their bad habits. Send them reminders if you need something from them or there’s a deadline they need to meet. Their workload is not your responsibility but you should do your due diligence if something they are doing or not doing affects your own work.

How do you let your boss know?

Don’t ‘tell tales’ as this risks you looking bad and can ruin workplace relationships. Instead, make your boss aware that you can’t finish a project until your co-worker has completed ‘X’ task as this puts the responsibility with them and they will be held accountable if deadlines are not met.

Ask them for help

If you need to ask them to do some work, ask them for ‘help’ rather than telling them what to do, which might not be well-received. It’s a subtle way of pointing out that you’re swamped with work and they could be doing more. Another tactic to ask them if they need help with anything as it puts them on the spot and forces them to consider their workload.

Asking if they need help may also reveal that they have another reason for not working hard, such as personal issues, or feeling overwhelmed because they don’t know how to do something and are embarrassed to ask. If the problem can be easily explained, it could be relatively easy to fix.

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