I think we’ve all been here before: trying to figure out the best ways to deal with troublesome coworkers. Maybe they’re distracting, lazy, overly-talkative or just generally annoying (or all of the above). But at the end of the day, we still have to work with them.
As someone who works from home, even I have to deal with some challenging coworkers. Here’s a look at the trouble they cause, and how I cope.
If you’re frustrated by lazy coworkers, you’ve got plenty of company. Research indicates that 93% of people who work in a team environment have at least one coworker who isn’t pulling his or her weight. And, not surprisingly, only 10% of those affected by lazy coworkers actually confront them.
I get it that we can’t be “on” all of the time; everyone has days when they’re not firing on all cylinders. But I have one lazy coworker (pictured below – name withheld for privacy) who takes it to a whole new level.
Here she is. Asleep on my computer. Not a care in the world, while I have a lengthy to do list stuck beneath her. How she gets away with this is really beyond me.
How I Deal With It: I try to be compassionate. I don’t really know if she had a rough night, or maybe her task list is more taxing than mine and requires regular cat naps. So I give her a few moments when I find her like this (practically daily) and then try a discreet “psst” or gentle poke in the belly to rouse her so I can get back to work. Try the same if you find coworkers asleep at their desks and let me know if it works!
I consider myself a team player, so I’m not above sharing resources or even treats with my coworkers.
But I have my limits. Two of my coworkers push these limits on a regular basis.
They conveniently end up in the break room whenever I’m making a snack, and they always look pathetic and hungry.
Sometimes, one of them will sneak into my office and quietly stare at me as I eat my snack. Have ye no shame?!
How I Deal With It: I try to choose snacks that won’t be appealing to them, or eat my food quickly enough that they don’t have a chance to ask for any. It also helps to have less-valuable snacks on hand that you can offer these moochers, so they are distracted while you eat whatever you’ve prepared for yourself.
Occasionally I’ll throw them a bone and share my food (which probably doesn’t help in the long run) but I don’t want to be a total office monster.
Bonding with your teammates is essential, but sometimes coworkers can take socializing too far. I’m usually happy to chat for a few minutes if you come into my office to say hello, but then I try to politely return to my work.
One staff member will try to stand between me and my work if she’s not done with my undivided attention! While the other tries to get me check out a new toy or get leave the office as often as possible “just for a quick walk.”
How I Deal With It: I indulge them about as often as I shut down their distracting tendencies. Having friends at work is important, and they are definitely fun! But, when it really comes time for me to focus I’ll just use a stern voice (and occasionally a squirt gun) to curb their behavior.
All in all, I recognize that I could have worse coworkers.
Mine are pretty tame, awfully sweet and seem to really care about me – so their antics are often outweighed by their redeemable qualities.
Do you have troublesome coworkers? Give us a shout and tell me how you cope with them!
With ten years of marketing and communications experience in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, nonprofit, automotive and accounting, Rachel puts her diverse background to good use by helping our clients find their voice. Rachel loves a good pun and has an advanced affinity for alliteration.