Confronting Lazy Coworkers (Or Classmates)


We’ve all been there. You’ve been assigned a group project at work or even at school. The other two or three people on your team are at least attempting to hold their own, but there’s that one late guy who thinks rules of work don’t apply to him. Or maybe it’s an attractive coworker who thinks their rugged good looks or cute figure will get them by. It irritates and frustrates you, but you don’t know how to deal with it. Well, there are a few key ways to handle lazy people.

Stress leads to depression.

To begin with, confront yourself. Though the lazy person obviously needs to step their game up, something in you would rather have you grind your teeth and soldier on than confront the person and feel awkward for a while. Why is that? Why would you want to suffer carrying someone else’s workload than confront them? You don’t deserve that. Allowing someone to bully you will only emotionally harm you.

Confronting that person may come across as a huge step, and it is. However, you need to take that step for yourself and your own health. Imagine biting your tongue every time someone puts their work off on you. Whether you’re a college student or a professional, the added stress can damage your quality of life. Stress leads to depression. You’ll be gray before your time at the hands of others, if you don’t stand up for yourself.

Protect yourself...

Taking a step back, it is important to delegate duties. Everyone must know their role. Deadlines must be set, and meetings have to take place. The sooner you find out there’s a slacker, the sooner you can address and correct the issue. Don’t wait until your boss says, ”Where’s the project?” or the day your professor says, ”Presentations are due.” This will be the bane of you. Protect yourself professionally and academically.

Also, before speaking to the other person alone, have a group meeting. Go first. Tell and show your coworkers or class group what you’ve done so far. Once it’s on the slacker, the slacker will make excuses as to why they haven’t completed their part. It may embarrass them enough to actually make them do their work. Nothing gets someone more uncomfortable than being put on the spot when they’re unprepared.


If the other person continues to slack, if no one has brought it up by now, you do it. Get the others’ opinions. If they feel the same way you do, you all together should address the lazy person. Tell them what the issue is and give examples of when they have been late on deadlines or completing milestones. Let them give their side. Listen patiently. Reinforce what you’re feeling and kindly let them know your future expectations.

When all else fails, you must report the slacker to your boss or professor. It sounds harsh, but it’s life. There are those who will take advantage of your meekness. They will trample all over you if you allow them to. Notifying your boss is what’s called C.Y.A., or covering your ass. Don’t take the blame for someone else’s underperformance.

Still, you have to be understanding.

However, you must be empathetic of other people’s situations. With the pandemic in full force, you see that life happens. Some things are out of our control. So, you have to be understanding. Still, a slacker will show who they are. One insincere excuse will follow another. You should be able to identify those with a real life issue from those who don’t.

That said, be your own backbone and stand up to lazy coworkers or classmates. You don’t have to do other people’s work. That’s the whole point of splitting it as a group. Don’t take a reprimand for someone who wouldn’t for you. They may not care about their career or academic future, but you care about yours. If that person won’t work, turn them in to the boss or professor. It’s not stitching. It’s covering your ass.

*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get my recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.

Published by Professor J

Professor J is a professor, author, poet and screenwriter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: