A co-worker of mine is on his last strike, because of slacking. He is generally a good employee, and good person, but he is often to get distracted into surfing internet when he got 'nothing' to do at work.

Me and this coworker are pretty close friend at work, and I'd like to support him so he won't get fired. We are in the same room, with 2 other colleagues. Sometimes I jokingly reminded him when he opened some random websites, but there's no guarantee he won't be doing that again.

What else I can do to support him? I'm aiming for a general behavior change, and in short term to find him more work to do so he doesn't have the time to surf random sites.

Note: I'm neither his superior nor more senior than him, but generally he respects me when I give some advice.

  • 6
    Generally not the best idea to get involved closely with people about to be sacked after multiple warnings.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 13:05

2 Answers 2


In my down time at work, I always ask my co-workers if they can give me something to do to help them, before doing anything else.

To get him in that state of mind, you could use an indirect method. When you have free time, you could ask him if he needs help with something. The goal would be to create more of a team environment. If he sees you doing it, he might do the same.

It will prevent something else too, as it can make other co-workers angry if he is seen to have down time while others are overloaded.

If no one needs help, you could suggest that he use his down time to learn. He could read documentation, do technical testing, or anything else that could help him and benefit the company (if your company allows that).

I'am just worried that he won't take this occasion to ask for more responsibility or work from your superior on his own. As such, I feel you might have difficulty to change his behavior. He could be a good friend, but at work he might just be bad team player.

  • 7
    To add to this, you could go the opposite route and when you see he has time on his hands, ask him to help you out (Ben Franklin effect en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Franklin_effect#Uses). Different method but working toward the same conclusion as @yagmoth555's answer.
    – Y12K
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 8:31
  • 2
    Asking him to help you is probably safer than asking him if he needs your help. The latter might result in him offloading his responsibilities on to you and then, when the work is not done on time (because you still have your own work, too,) he just tells management "Oh, Bob said he would do that."
    – Steve-O
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 15:36

What else I can do to support him?

Take him out to lunch.

Talk about his "last strike". Ask if he cares or is just cruising along hoping to get fired.

If he cares, ask if he has any idea why get often gets distracted. It could be anything ranging from boredom to a medical issue.

Ask if he wants help. If he does, offer to tell him to "Get back to work!" whenever you catch him slacking off. Sometimes friendly reminders can help us keep on track when trying to break bad habits.

Ask if he can think of anything else that you could do to help keep him from slacking. Keeping him an active participant in the process is important - real change comes only from within and only when folks really want to change. You cannot impose that on him from without.

If he truly respects your advice, he'll listen thoughtfully and open up a bit. Sometimes just having a sounding board like you can help.

  • Thanks! I will definitely try this. Usually I'm avoiding sensitive topic like this, but it's his last chance, so I'll try everything I can. By the way, I'm not aware of medical issue capable of making someone get easily distracted, can you elaborate more?
    – Vylix
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 13:36
  • 3
    +1 for the idea of asking him if he wants your help. As close as you may be, there's no point going out on a limb if he's already preparing to move on anyway.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 15:39

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