Some people spend a lot of energy looking extremely busy while really just squeaking by doing as little work as possible.
Such is the job of the office slacker. And whether you work with one or one works for you, you need strategies to handle this admittedly most-annoying type of co-worker.
So annoying, in fact, that in a recent survey, the slacker was voted the most aggravating person in the workplace, tied with the kiss-up.
How can you co-exist with this low-achiever?
Here’s what works and what doesn’t (besides that person!) to ease your pain:
What doesn’t: “Misdiagnosing” a slacker
Someone who appears to be slacking may actually just be a low-performing team member. Maybe he or she just doesn’t understand how to do the work or simply isn’t up to the task at hand.
Another option: Is one isolated incident branding someone a slacker? That label’s hard to shake, even if there was only one instance where a person didn’t pull his or her own weight.
What doesn’t: Cracking down on the PC
It’s one of the biggest misconceptions of slackers: that the Web has further enabled folks to goof off during the day. Turns out “cyberslacking” accounts for only about 25% of a slacker’s wasted time.
So making a move like cracking down on everyone’s Web use probably won’t jolt a lazy employee into a productivity spike, and it could demoralize the rest of the team.
What does: Breaking the slacker’s work into chunks
It’s easy to fly under the radar screen when there’s a mile-long list of tasks to be accomplished. Too many things can be “in progress” for too long.
Better to give a slacker one specific task at a time, with specific deadlines. That way it’s easier to monitor the headway being made. When one is done, it’s time to move on to the next.
What does: Call attention the right way
Chances are the slacker’s supervisor knows this person isn’t pulling his or her own weight – griping about it will only sound like tattling and could cast you in a negative light.
The best way to shine a spotlight on a slacker’s sub-par performance? Keep your own performance high. As others see the work can get done, the slacker’s lack of results will become more and more obvious.