I have a worker in my company that works like twice as good as any of my other workers! twice as fast with twice as quality! But he is madly procrastinating and can't be relied on! Sometimes he comes to work like 4 hours late! still he achieves more than normal workers that come early! I love him and am sick of him at the same time. I was talking to a friend about him and she told me that she had also had a similar experience a few years ago but that person left the company himself. So I thought I'd come here and ask for ideas on how to deal with these intelligent procrastinators.

The main issues are that first, if we let him behave just as he likes, other workers will feel that they've been treated unfairly(and they are right to in their own shoes since they don't really see how productive each worker is.) and it won't be really so easy to explain to each and every one of them why this wouldn't be unfair. Also it wouldn't be so reasonable to bring everyone together and explain to them about this matter. In the other hand also, he does once in a while make issues for us like causing a few hours delay and much stress because of that delay. With him it's both that we have n-1, and n+1 workers. So everything will be a lot easier if we can manage to make him more reliable and of course we would be more that happy to give him some extra because of his productivity(noting other workers won't realy need to know about it in contrast to letting him come late etc.)

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    Either accept his behaviour or start the process of getting rid of him. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 19:44
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    I want him so stop doing this. And It would be bad to lose him. Accepting him is also not a good option because it will make other workers feel bad and treated unfairly. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 20:07
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    I'll tell you tomorrow Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 20:38
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    It seems this guy is much too qualified for the work you’re giving him, so if you’re satisfied with the other team members’ productivity, why not try a different aproach with him? Why not promote him to a higher level of seniority, setting up higher expectations for him than the others, so that this extra productivity benefits your business instead of paying him for basically not worked hours. Of course this should come with an appropriate salary raise, but if you see it from an hourly rate perspective, considering the actual time he’s working for you, you’re basically paying him more already.
    – Laurent S.
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 8:09
  • 4
    Maybe change your evaluation to be based on work completed, not hours on the clock. If your work is very task based and he is completing as many tasks as every one else, what is the problem?
    – cdkMoose
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 17:45

4 Answers 4


The employee in question sounds extremely productive. If he can finish his work faster and more efficient than anyone else, then he is way above the skill set required to succeed in that job. I can see why he was hired again 3x.

If I was in your position, I would try and plan the following with my own boss:

  1. Talked to him one on one and figure out something that can work for you both. You need him on time and be reliable, what can your company do in order to help him achieve that?

  2. Talk to him about having flexible schedule? Only work part time. Since he completes his work faster than anyone else, is there a need for him to be full time?

  3. Talk to your boss about making him remote. Let him work on his own at his own schedule. Treat him as an external employee, rather than an in house employee.

  4. Ask the employee any personal reason as to why this continues to happen.

  5. Formulate a plan where this employee can start mentoring your other employees how to be as efficient as him. Promote him to a leadership status with more time management responsibility.

If I would take a personal guess, your employee seems bored at his job. He probably is staying there just for comfort and not doing anything challenging. Management there need him for this efficiency and can't live without having him around. He knows that and therefore he is free to manage his own time.

This is a Management issue. Not an employee issue. Management needs to set a standard for their employees in regards to time. If there aren't any, then there isn't really a problem. Perhaps your other employees should learn from this guy. if they can complete their work and be productive as he is, they can manage their time at work just like he does.

EDIT: From the sound of it, your employee is not a procrastinator, but someone who is performing way beyond his capability. Meaning, he needs something more challenging.

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    About point 2: I agree that he might not need to be hired full time BUT definetily at the same pay. Even if he has to work less, but if he delivers the same quantity and quality he should definetily paid the same. Better people deserver better.
    – MansNotHot
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 14:08
  • Not to mention, if you were to decrease his salary (part time = less salary), he would simply find another company that pays what he wants. If he's not even challenged by his current position, finding a new one is just a formality. Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 21:18

How to deal with amazing procrastinators?

Work with your HR department and put this person on an performance improvement plan, commonly known as a PIP. By doing this, you will have given the employee documented items to improve upon and the means by which their success or failure will be measured.

If they fail to meet the goals of the plan, you will have no issues getting rid of them with from either HR or legally down the road.

This may come to as a surprise to some, but as a former manager this tool can actually work in terms of turning a border line employee around.

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    It also has a good chance of causing him to look for another job, which according to OP would be undesirable. Not saying he shouldn't do a PIP, just pointing out the drawback.
    – Jim Clay
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 22:23
  • That wouldn't be a reasonable title for him because he is already having the best performance in his team. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 22:44
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    This is the perfect recipe to achieve regression to mediocrity. It is advice how not to treat capable people. For capable people, tell them what you need, specify the constraints, give them the tools, and leave them alone. Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 11:35
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    @IamSoNotListening OP's question is a bit vague on why the behaviour is a problem (except that it riles them - and possibly colleagues). Do they miss deadlines? I think just being upset because that person is just so incredibly capable and therefore able to get away with something that lowly people don't, is not wise. I have had people like that - the job of a manager is to make others accept that no amount of envy is going to fix that and balance the interaction as to make the whole team better - unless there some other problem, of course. Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 17:49
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    Missing deadlines is indeed bad. You could consider giving him difficult tasks that are not on the time-critical line. On the other hand, envy is something that I would not accept in my group; in a nutshell, I tell envious people in my group always that everyone in that group has a reason to be there - some are better at X, some at Y, and not to envy someone just because they have an advantage at X. Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 9:43

Is the job done?

I mean, wether the person looks like working or not should not be relevant. Performance should be relevant. If that worker makes more stuff than others, where is the problem?

This person works another way than the average. Is probably not able to stay focused as much as its colleagues. Is able to make the job anyways. Well, then it's time to use that person the way it works. Not all workers are similar. Some need a lot of sweat to get things done. Others need a lot of pause time to get things done.

That being said, there i one situation in which those people can be a problem : it's when jealousy arises, and the whole team spirit falls down. It does not happen often, to my experience, but it may happen. In this case, strict measures shall be taken. But in other cases, why do you want to get rid of someone more productive than his colleagues?

EDIT : from your Edit, I understand that you've got 2 objectives :

  1. Keep the other workers working and not looking at him
  2. Prevent him from surprising behaviours that may provoke dangerous delays in your operations.

Point 2 is especially important, and changes somewhat my point of view on the topic. It means he cannot work as others do. You don't discipline an artist, basically. You leave him place to express himself - if you have this place. You need to feed him with more difficult tasks, but also tasks that can afford to be late if he's not in the mood that day. Overall, at the end of the week, he'll have done far more things(and far more complex) than others. Others, though, will have done things that are time-critical.

Of course, the thing is : do you have such tasks? If not, maybe such a high potential worker is not suited to this team. If you"ve got challenging tasks, OTOH, dump them on him : he'll love them. And it's also easier for others to accept a worker with a different schedules if he's doing other tasks. It's only a partial answer to point 1, but still.

  • As you mentioned because of the spirit of the team. Because we can't have strict rules for everyone and not for him. And if others see him coming late and nth happening to him, they will also start to think that they can come late too. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 21:52

Fire him.

Now that he is unemployed, offer to engage him as a contractor and pay him by work accomplished, at approximately three times the rate calculated from his previous performance. If he accepts then assign him the same tasks as before.

It should go without saying that you must create a genuine contractor position for him; you cannot simply call reclassify him as "contractor" and leave all else unchanged.

If any of his former co-workers complain, offer them the same deal.

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    Simply making someone a contractor does not really work. There are employment laws in the US that stipulate the differences between the two and there are plenty of reasons an employee may object to simply being reclassified and even if they don't immediately, they may do so later, and even if they don't, the IRS might. Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 4:17
  • Thanks for your great answer. Such a pity I can't accept two answers. Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 2:16

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