She comes in almost always late and doesn’t even hit the ground running—instead, she goes out to have early lunch, leaving you to answer her phone that never stops ringing. People keep on asking you where to find her, and when she does stay put in her cubicle, it doesn’t even seem like she does anything to contribute to the team. Worse, she’s always the first one out the door at the end of every shift.
Every hard-working woman has had to deal with someone like that at some point in her career, and yes, it can be very frustrating, but before you snap and “accidentally” drop a heavy-duty stapler on her high-heeled foot, pause and think about where exactly the frustration is coming from.
Do her actions actually matter?
Her flightiness may be annoying, but does her attendance actually concern you or your team? She may have a different way of approaching her job, but if in the long run how she does things doesn’t really matter to you, then why suffer in negativity? The Muse writer Jennifer Winter shared a similar experience:
“This happened to me once with a new colleague. While I regularly came in early, worked through lunch, and stayed way past dinnertime. He came in (grossly) late, took a full hour for lunch, and left at 5 PM on the dot every day. How dare he! When I mentioned my frustration to a friend, she pointed out that he’s not technically doing anything wrong, so what was the big deal, anyway?”
It’s more important to focus on your own work than in allowing other people’s actions to sour your successes. If it happens to be just a gnawing annoyance, then you’re better off without it. Of course, it’s a different story altogether if this colleague’s performance (or lack of it) is making it harder for you to do your own job, which leads us to the next question:
How much of your processes does she affect?
It’s important to know where exactly your processes falter and if her actions cause it. It’s so easy to blame your officemate for everything wrong that’s going on, so be conscious of your irritation and first see if any of it is professionally valid. Once you take note of the lapses, find ways on how you can fix them; if you can skip going through her altogether, then why not?
Talk to your colleague.
Approach her in such a way that you’re open to her input. Don’t go charging in and blaming every single problem on her. Maybe she’s taking care of a relative at home, which is why she comes to work late and goes home early. Maybe she is working hard and she actually has her hands full, which is why she can’t process your stuff right away. An open and honest dialogue can help you both understand each other’s needs and improve your previous workflow.
Talk to your boss.
If in the end, there’s really no legit reason why your officemate is slacking off other from the fact that she’s just plain lazy or she doesn’t like her job, then talk to a person who’s in the position to make a difference. Don’t be sumbungera, and don’t try to make yourself look like the martyr or the hero. Instead, be honest about wanting to improve your team’s cohesion, and explain that including your officemate in the loop is a good way to do it.
Keep on doing you (and don’t get influenced by bad habits)!
It’s so easy to fall into the pit of complacency when an officemate is seemingly chill in it. Don’t get distracted and stay focused on your job. Don't worry; the scales will eventually balance out.