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I currently work as a virtual assistant (VA) for a company abroad. There are three of us on the VA Team, and we are all accountable for one set of deliverables per day. Another thing that might be important to note is that the three of us are long-time friends outside of work.

Our company is output-oriented and it doesn't matter to them who does what among the three of us, as long as the work gets done. So internally, the three of us assigned specific deliverables that each one of us will be accountable for. We all agreed.

We've noticed that X, one of our teammates, doesn't always work on their deliverables, leaving us two to pick up after their slack.

We've called X out on the group chat on this issue multiple times, didn't make a difference. We asked if they can still commit to the job, they said yes. One issue is that they are also a full time student, which is likely the number one thing that's getting in the way of her job. But then work is work, and they can't always expect us to do their job for them.

If you were in my situation, how would you deal with a remote teammate like this? Is it time to raise the issue to our manager? If so, how?

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Another thing that might be important to note is that the three of us are long-time friends outside of work.

This is probably the most important part to take into account since this issue is likely to affect your friendship or even end it forever.

I wouldn’t talk to your manager behind his back, you owe him at least a warning before it comes to that.

Option 1. If you think it’ll be a passing thing just ignore it and wait for the problem to go away. This would be my recommendation if you know it’s something like an exam period or something that is just making him busy. This involves putting the friendship on top and just covering for him when he needs it (as friends do).

Option 2. If it feels like something permanent.

  1. Speak to your friend as a friend and tell him, as a friend, his lack of commitment is affecting you, your work and that it isn’t fair to dump that work into you.
  2. Make it clear that you won’t stand that situation and that he, as a friend, shouldn’t either, and that, if things do not change or he’s not willing to change, you’ll need to bring it up to your manager.
  3. Depending on his answer, give him time to change.

If things do not change or he’s not willing to, you’ll need to make a judgement call. Either you go to option 1 and keep your friendship or you report him to your manager and seriously damage or even end that friendship.

I’d point out, however, that having a friend that takes advantage of you after making him know that’s outside boundaries and giving you extra work is hardly a good friend anyway.

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    Excellent answer, especially the last sentence! – iLuvLogix Oct 10 at 8:09
  • Thank you so much! I really appreciate that you took the relationship into account with this answer. – kneecallit Oct 10 at 8:52
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Is it time to raise the issue to our manager?

Yes

If so, how?

Tell them what you told us.

If possible, have it documented.

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