When someone isn’t pulling their weight at work it can be very frustrating as it drags the whole team down and creates more work for you.
There is a thin line between being lazy and lacking confidence or just not being good at their job.
I say this because laziness is one of the hardest things to overcome as no amount of training and experience is going to help!
If you’re trying to work out what’s up with one of your colleagues, here are 10 of the most obvious signs of a lazy coworker:
10 Signs of A Lazy Coworker
1. They Always Have Excuses for Coming in Late or Leaving Early
A truly lazy coworker isn’t going to just be lazy within their scheduled working hours.
It’s very likely they will also be lazy at home, and not being able to get in on time or say the entire day is always going to be a challenge.
If you think your coworker is lazy and they’re also always making excuses for having time off, chances are they’re just sitting around at home procrastinating!
Related – 10 tips for dealing with coworkers who don’t pull their weight.
2. They Seem to Spend More Time Away from Their Desk than At It
If you work in an office, it’s hard being tied to your desk all day when you’re not doing anything (sounds like I know this first hand, doesn’t it!).
If your coworker spends more time away from his desk than at it, it’s a sign that he’s trying to stop himself from going crazy from boredom.
It might also be a sign that they’re trying to give the impression that they’re needed in other places and have things to do!
3. They Say They Can’t Possibly Take on Any More Work
If your coworker is constantly complaining that they’re too busy to take on more work, it’s a sure sign of laziness.
This is one of the most frustrating things about a lazy individual. They’re not doing much, and when you do need them, they pretend they’re too busy.
This is where they really let their team down as it’s either going to be you or another coworker who has to pick up their work.
4. They Tell You They’re Too Busy
Even if they’re not being asked to do more, if a coworker is always complaining that they’re too busy this is a sign that they’re being lazy.
On the flip side, a coworker who is hungry to progress in their role and impress their boss would welcome new challenges.
If your coworker is always moaning about being too busy, they’re more than likely just trying to avoid doing anything!
5. You Always See Their Screen Saver when You Walk Past Their Computer
Seeing someone’s screen saver is always a giveaway that they’ve not touched their computer in a while.
This is another one that can be frustrating as it’s a sign that they’re not working (while you are) and are just procrastinating.
The best part is when they try to look busy like they’re actually doing something, yet their screensaver comes on!
6. They Spend a Lot of Time on Their Cell Phone
This is the modern way lazy workers procrastinate and keep themselves entertained, playing on their phones!
If you find your coworker is always on their phone, whether it’s during work hours or their break, it’s a sign that they’re not really concentrating on their work.
Checking their messages or taking a quick call is one thing, but playing phone games or surfing the internet for hours is something else.
7. They Don’t Even Want to Talk About Work
This is one of the key signs that someone isn’t engaged or interested in their work at all and is a drag if they’re part of a team.
A lazy coworker is going to be the one who doesn’t want to talk about work or bring any new ideas to the table, and they’re also going to be the ones who moan about things and bring a negative vibe.
This is because they know they’re not really putting in the effort, and they don’t want to be caught out by revealing they don’t know what’s going on!
8. They Always Try and Delegate Work to Others
A lazy coworker is always going to try and delegate work to others, and this is because they don’t want to do it themselves!
This is super annoying when you’re working to tight deadlines and you really need their help and can see that they’re not busy.
If you have a lazy coworker who is quick to try and delegate work to others rather than step up and do it themselves it’s time to try and do something about it.
9. They Try and Push Back Deadlines or Say They’re Being Given Too Much Work
Deadlines are there for a reason, if your coworker is always trying to push them back or say they’re being given too much work, it’s a sign that they’re being lazy.
This is because they know they won’t be able to meet the deadline, or they’re just not willing to put in the extra effort to get the work done.
It can be really frustrating when you’re working hard to meet a deadline and your coworker is just sat there doing nothing!
10. You Can Just Tell by Looking at Them!
This is the most obvious sign of a lazy coworker, you can just tell by looking at them or paying attention to what they’re (not) doing!
If they’re always slouching, have their feet up on the desk, or just look generally uninterested it’s pretty obvious they’re not putting any effort in.
I feel your frustration, there are few things worse than putting in 100% only to see one of your coworkers cruising by and still getting paid.
If you’re in a position to do something about it, such as mentioning their lack of effort to your boss, you should do so.
At the end of the day, the less work a lazy coworker does the more work it puts on the rest of the team and that’s just not fair.
Related – Tips for dealing with coworkers who like to keep information to themselves.
What to Do About a Lazy Coworker
If you have a lazy coworker it can be really frustrating, especially if you’re putting in extra hours or working to deadlines.
The best thing you can do is to talk to your boss or HR about the situation, they should be able to do something about it.
The worst thing you can do is talk to them directly about it if you’re not in a position of authority, as it could just make the situation worse.
Reporting them might cause some tension between the two of you, but keep in mind that it’s the right thing to do.
A lazy coworker is going to be a drag on the whole team. It can ruin the culture, be demotivating, and worst of all laziness can be contagious!
If you see the signs of a lazy coworker in someone you work with, it’s best to address the issue as soon as possible in any way you can.
Image credits – Photo by Dillon Shook on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.