At first glance lazy employees seem to be the worst ones to look to if you want to get a job done, but that may not be the truth.

After all, it's the lazy employees who know the shortcuts, the efficiencies, how to eliminate problems, keep things running smoothly, and save time.

Here's how to get the most from them.

When they seem to be idle, they may have found a much easier way of doing things, or they may just have more highly developed skills than others. Learn from them and enlist them to help teach others.

When they seem to be bored, they may be deep in thought. Find challenges that speak to them and give them higher-order assignments.

When they seem to be distracted, they may not have enough going on to keep them interested. Entrust them with projects that require multitasking and fast-paced work.

When they seem to be slothful, up the ante. Give them room to do more. Create challenges, targets, and goals and allow them to reach new heights.

When they seem to be slow-moving, let them find ways of being more productive in a shorter span of time in other areas. Helping your employees develop new skills lets them know you are committed to their success.

Remember, we're not talking here about employees who don't meet performance standards, but those who do so with little to no visible effort. Their laziness is real, but it's a symptom of something bigger, and not giving them a chance to do more is squandering a great resource.

If there's a hard job to be done, an assignment to be completed or a chore to be accomplished, give the job to a lazy employee and watch him find an easy way to get it done.

Don't alienate your lazy employees, but challenge them, distract them, and put them to work. Let them teach you more about being productive, effective, and constructive.