You are an ambitious, hard-working employee who is committed to growing your career and the company. You have an amazing team, but you have a co-worker who seems interested in only doing the bare minimum.

How do you communicate with the co-worker and let them know they need to do their part of the job?

A person sleeping at work and falling off their desk

It’s true that your coworker’sactions aren’t in your control, but your own actions are. Here are a few ways to deal with someone not pulling their weight.

A Different Perspective

Don't be too quick to judge! Slacking off might not be related to laziness. Think about things from their perspective and see if you can hone in on the real issue.

Sometimes, they may be:

Be Curious

Approach them in a non-threatening, non-judgmental way to understand what might be preventing them from pulling their weight.

It seems like you’re not very enthusiastic about this project. Is there something going on?

A man holding his chin while thinking

Listening to their answer can reveal something you didn’t realize was going on. You could also give them a subtle hint by saying — You are not performing as expected.


Let them know how their inaction is affecting your work.

Talk to your coworker about how their lack of contribution is affecting your work. Let them know that by failing to complete their tasks, your work is suffering.

Offer to help them find a solution — but don’t offer to do the work.

A girl with a cellphone and multitasking.


Which of these is a good way to approach a slacking co-worker?

Ask For A Favor

If you are hesitant to talk because you think it may seem too confrontational, frame it as asking your coworker for help.

It’s easy for some to ignore a task; it’s much harder to ignore a human being asking for help.

A sign that says,

Avoid Gossip

Speaking badly about your coworker is not going to solve the problem.

Do your best to avoid the temptation to gossip. If you need to blow off steam about your bad coworker, talk to a friend outside the office.

Two people gossiping

A Different Strategy

When having a conversation with a coworker doesn't work, talk to your manager, boss, or superior. The key to this discussion is to:

  • Stick to the facts.

  • Keep the situation free of emotions.

  • Remain calm and make a strong case for why this behavior is negatively impacting your work.

  • Avoid gossip and slander.

Now, the ball is in your superior's court, and they can decide how they want to proceed.


Take Action

Two people in front of a laptop at work Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

If the actions of your co-worker are affecting your performance and preventing you from growing within the workplace, it's time to:


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