How To Deal With A Difficult Coworker: Study

Have you ever dealt with a challenging coworker? Do you feel frustrated about not doing enough to resolve problems with coworkers? Many people face challenges knowing how to deal with a difficult coworker or even a few of them. Learning how to cooperate with others is key to being successful at your job. Without it, there can be more significant problems affecting your job performance.

How to deal with a difficult coworker

In my last few jobs, I dealt with a couple of coworkers who weren’t the best to work with. I recalled one of them being super-annoying, while a new hire at the time who would ask me 500 questions every single day. While others I considered being lazy coworkers, I found frustrating when I was putting in more effort than other people did. 

Well, lazy coworkers are a top complaint about many employees at their jobs. According to a study conducted by Mavenlink, lazy coworkers were the biggest pet peeve in the employee study. There were other concerns, but lazy coworkers was a common one. In this post, I will go over some top concerned employees had that limited their productivity.

How to deal with a difficult coworker

Biggest pet peeves at work

How To Deal With Difficult Coworker

As mentioned earlier, Mavenlink’s “Future of Work” survey examined some generational differences in the workplace. This online survey took place several months ago, with approximately 1002 employees taking part. The participants were employees working in a corporate work environment. 

Top findings

Here are some significant results from the survey, which included:

  • 47% of respondents said “lazy coworkers” was their pet peeve.
  • 42% of respondents said that “bad attitudes” was a pet peeve, followed by 34% saying “poor communication skills” as a top concern.

Nearly all age groups in the survey agreed that “lazy coworkers” was the top pet peeve at work. The one exception was the 18-24 age group, which reported: “bad attitude” as their top issue, followed by “lazy coworkers.”

Other productivity killers

How To Deal With A Difficult Coworker- 2

Besides the biggest pet peeves above, there were other findings that employees identified as productivity killers at work. These findings include:

  • 45% of respondents selected “poor management/leadership” as the top productivity killer. In the 18-24 age group,
  • 47% selected “poor management/leadership” as the top one, compared to 46% in the 45-54 age group.
  • 43% said that “chatty coworkers” was the second productivity killer at work. This factor was universal across all age groups, except for the 35-44 age group. This age group reported “chatty coworkers” as their biggest productivity killer.
  • 41% said that “too many/unnecessary meetings” was the third-rated productivity killer. Particularly the older age groups (45-64 years old) disliked meetings the most and ranked it as their top productivity killer.

The reasoning behind the study

The numbers are noteworthy, but in today’s modern workforce, they’re not surprising either. The survey was conducted for companies to come up with ideas for team-building opportunities. Team-building strategies are one of the essential elements in the workplace. But based on this study, team-building seems to be a significant challenge for companies to address. 

Survey recommendations 

One recommendation that Mavenlink gives is that managers and executives should listen to their employees’ concerns and implement changes in the following areas:

“Poor management/leadership” is the top productivity killer among respondents. Companies should figure out how to interact with their employees differently to avoid distractions and improve productivity.

Meetings are very unpopular among the older age groups. So companies should figure out how to make meetings more efficient and limit meetings times.

  Other areas that respondents disliked the most include:

  • 44% went to “office politics”
  • 26% toward  “poor management/leadership.”
  • 25% said “lack of transparency/hierarchy,”

My takeaways: What else we can do 

When I reviewed this study, I wasn’t surprised regarding the top pet peeves and productivity killers. In my last few jobs, I believe many of my former coworkers would agree these are areas of concern. Sometimes, it isn’t straightforward working with others who have different opinions from you. But if it becomes a bigger problem at work, something has to change (and it starts at the top). 


My dissenting view

I’m afraid I have to disagree with some of the survey recommendations. If I were to make some recommendations, I would look into areas where age groups have their strengths and weaknesses. For instance, younger age groups are usually more tech-savvy. So why not have them do tasks such as internet research or social media? While older age groups can focus on areas where they might be more skilled than their younger peers.

Another option could be remote work opportunities. Is it necessary for people to see their coworkers every workday (whether that’s five days a week)? I get annoyed (small or big) with what my coworkers do some days. Not only can you avoid those inconveniences, but companies can save time and money.

Wrap-UpHow To Deal With A Difficult Coworker- 3

Overall, this study had some clear takeaways in what’s going on in the modern-day workplace. I find dealing with lazy coworkers to be difficult ones to work with. In my experience, it annoyed me because the ones who were lazy didn’t change. They didn’t last long at the previous job I was at. I’ve seen it happen, and it helped people, such as myself, to do my best while focusing on my work performance. Some of their recommendations may be quick fixes, while other ones need better solutions.

Out of the survey’s findings, what is your biggest pet peeve? Have you experienced any of the issues brought up in the study?

If you’ve experienced anything, leave a comment below. Also, please share this post with others.

At-A-Glance: It's Your Life, Take Note



Eric is a time management consultant and owner of the blog, He takes great pride in helping people manage their time, personally and professionally. Eric is a firm believer in time freedom, as he believes in taking ownership of time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He likes to go for long walks out in nature and been taking Zumba classes every week at his local gym. You can follow Eric via Facebook and LinkedIn.


8 thoughts on “How To Deal With A Difficult Coworker: Study”

  1. Thanks a lot for these amazing instructions and explanations given about How To Deal With Difficult Coworker: Study.

    I am in college and how much is learned and how I have lazy coworkers is very difficult for me. I have read many articles about it but this is the best I have read and I will definitely help them change it too.

    Thanks again for this post. If you don’t mind, I will share this article on my social media account. Good luck!

    • Of course! Yes, dealing with lazy coworkers can be quite annoying. It’s difficult for some people- even myself, it was frustrating over the years.

      I get what you’re saying. Please share it and pass the article- I’d greatly appreciate it.

      Thanks again for sharing your input!

  2. Co workers who procrastinates and wants us to leave jobs meant for today to other days is very annoying. 

    i love your ideas and I wished I’d thought of things like this before. 

    But the thing is that some coworkers just dislike you for no reason and gets very aggressive towards you and wants you out of the job as if your salary would be added to theirs, how does one deal with such a coworker? 

    All the same, this article is a great eye opener. 

    • Thanks for sharing. Yes, I get what you’re saying about coworkers and their feelings. I don’t understand how that works sometimes. It can be frustrating.

      Thanks again for sharing your input!

  3. One of the worst feelings you can ever have is dealing with difficult co-workers everyday.

    It’s just like going to put your head in an oven for about 8 to 9 hours everyday. Thanks for sharing, it’s given enough knowledge about how to deal with it, and what you can do to enjoy your day irregardless.

    • Thank you- I’m glad to know you enjoyed reading this post.

      Your oven analogy exactly described how I felt at some of my old jobs. I couldn’t stand it some days being around annoying coworkers. But it’s a good learning lesson as well. 

      Thanks again for sharing your analogy. It’s a good one to remember- much appreciated!

  4. Really it can be daunting to deal with some difficult coworkers and the fact that they come in lot of varieties too doesnt help the issues. What you shared here is pretty good and surelywhat I value a lot. To be honest, this is a great post here and I must confess that it will really impact me a lot. Thank you so much for sharing here

    • Thank you, Kimberly. I’m glad to know you got value out of the post.

      You are right- it’s not easy when it comes to difficult coworkers. Sometimes, you have to be a little more mindful when it comes to those situations.

      Thanks again for sharing your input- much appreciated!


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