At some point or another you will encounter lazy colleagues. They are everywhere and a lot of them have been lazy for years! I have always thought ‘each to their own’; if they want to be lazy that is their problem. But when it starts to impact my work or they start to pass work on to me because they are too lazy to do it themselves – well that is a problem that needs to be resolved. It has happened to me a couple of times actually. Here is how I dealt with it.

Stand up to them

Firstly you have to identify work that they should ask you to do and work that is totally out of your remit. For assistants this can be difficult especially if the lazy so and so is in your department. Depending on the tasks, I’ve often given these colleagues the benefit of the doubt the first few times but after that I will let them know that I can’t support their work load any further because I am too busy. The best thing to do is  stay strong, repeat your reasons until your colleague gets the message.

Don’t let them distract you

Watching another member of staff slack off can be really frustrating but it isn’t worth letting them distract you, particularly if you are busy yourself and they are trying to off load their work on to you. They will eventually get their comeuppance so it is best just to ignore them and concentrate on what you have to do.

Don’t let them drag you down with them

Again this can be quite tempting. If you see other people checking their Facebook, taking long lunches and leaving early while you are working your socks off it can be easy to wonder what you are doing and start to follow their lead. All I can say is that it is not worth it. Those people are probably lazy at work because they are unmotivated and bored. If you keep working hard, which is  really the only way an assistant will get noticed, you will eventually be rewarded for it.

Don’t rely on them for anything

It can be hard working with a lazy colleague on projects because you will just end up doing most of the work. If you can avoid working with them do so. If they agree to help you with something don’t rely on them delivering it. If this is affecting your work and your ability to deliver tasks it is well worth speaking to your boss about it. They have probably encountered similar problems with this colleague.

They are not your responsibility

I’ve had to tell myself this many times. It is easy to feel responsible for them or want to help them out, especially if you get on with them at work. If you do have a good relationship with your colleague a bit of humour will help you stand up to them. Just remember you are really busy and you have a difficult enough job without the burden of dealing with a lazy colleague.