Slackers can ruin the dynamic of any team—without doing a thing. When workers get lazy, their colleagues have to do more than their fair share. That results in overworked, stressed-out employees and mediocre projects. When they waste time on Twitter, make personal phone calls and take long breaks, lazy workers reduce productivity and, when their laziness goes unchecked, morale.
With the tips below, you can stymie the slackers’ toxicity in your workplace:
Confront the problem
Many bosses are tempted to ignore this issue. They may hope that in time slackers will step up their game and become more productive team members. However, ignoring lazy workers will exacerbate the problem. It sends the message to slackers that you approve of their work habits and to hard working employees that you don’t value their work ethic. Meet one-on-one with the offenders and tell them that their actions—or lack thereof—are not going unnoticed. Cite specific, documented occurrences and tell them that their work habits don’t change, there will be consequences.
Make note of work habits
After speaking with the slackers, continue to document their successes and failures. When they do good work, reward them with praise and a sincere “Thank you.” If a slacker’s habits don’t change, be sure to record that too, as you will need it as proof should you decide that you need to fire the person.
Remove any hindrances to their productivity
If their slacking stems from distractions, block recreational websites like Facebook, YouTube and ESPN. Over time, if their performance improves, you can remove the blocks, but keep an eye on their usage.
Assign extra work
When you catch your slackers blatantly putting off work, send a clear message. Keep them busy by giving them extra tasks every time they seem to be slowing down. Fill up their “free time” and you will get the productivity out of them that you’ve been looking for.
Explain your expectations
Set clear goals for what you need to see from them in the future. Say “I expect you to arrive to work on time, leave when your colleagues leave, follow company break policies and become a more productive member of this organization.” Get them to agree to lighten their teammates’ workload by doing their fair share. Then address your timeline for change; you should see a difference immediately and a complete turnaround in two weeks. If you don’t see the necessary improvements, you should replace that team member with someone who is willing to pull his or her own weight.
Are you managing a difficult coworker and are unsure what to do next? Tell us all about it in the comments section and we’ll share some advice to make your life easier!