This coworker is killing your productivity the most

Irrespective of industry and generation, securing a healthy work/life balance remains a top priority for American workers. But according to a new in-depth study published by Mavenlink, nothing dampens this aspiration quite like a “lazy coworker.”

This was found to be especially true among Generation Z-a cohort rapidly developing a no-nonsense reputation in the workforce. After lazy-workers, negative attitudes (42%) and poor communication skills (34%) were occasioned the most frequently as daily productivity killers.

The top three factors that stifled output all fall under the umbrella term: office culture. Younger workers are more inclined to resign from positions they deem to negatively contribute to stress. This shift in priorities sees cutting edge firms make a point to advertise an ecosystem that’s consistent with young values.

“While all age groups generally agree on the elements of a work culture that breeds success, there are some nuances in their responses,” the researchers wrote in the new paper. “Organizational leadership should take care to address these differences with a multifaceted approach. Luckily for organizational leadership, respondents highlighted their preferences for how to create a more inclusive, productive work culture.”

A multifaceted approach to upholding corporate ethics


Back in late 2019, Mavenlink teamed up with Atomik Research in order to identify the most important correlates of successful work culture.

Of the 1,092 participants surveyed, the majority (62%) agreed that it came down to work/life balance. In other words, superiors and colleagues that were mindful of the personal limitations of one another more reliably achieved shared objectives.

In this way, the term “lazy” was employed in several different ways. For some (43%) it was determined that working with an employee that talked more than they completed daily tasks adversely impacted overall output.  While nearly half lamented this scenario mid-level workers said that it was the number one productivity killer.

For others, laziness was characterized by a deliberate lack of action on behalf of management; i.e activities that adsorbed time with no obvious benefit.  Forty-one percent of all the workers surveyed said that they were subjected to an excess of unnecessary meetings. For respondents over the age of 50, the price was evident by poor performance and waning engagement.

Many of the participants either felt that their organizational leaders burdened their staff with busy work or that they didn’t do enough to limit office distractions.  Corporate politics, a lack of transparency and an obvious and biased hierarchy system were often cited as executive failures. Each seemed to blunt a true meritocracy in unique ways.

“The research reveals that different age groups have nuanced preferences about how they’d like their work environment to feel,” the authors told Ladders in a press statement. “The survey also uncovers key elements for a productive workplace culture that ring true across all demographics: work/life balance, team-building, and continuous learning.”

Age determined what employees deemed to be the best approach to rebuilding a fractured office culture.

For 18 to 24 years olds flexibility was the most effective productivity measure. For  25 to 34-year-olds training was the best way to increase employee retention and engagement. For 35 to 44-year-olds a competent leader mattered the most. In their eyes, a supervisor should instruct their staff on proper conduct as well as supply them with a daily itinerary of relevant tasks.