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How to Lift the Spirits of a Coworker Who Is Down or Unmotivated


You’ve probably been there yourself: You’re physically at work, but you’re not at your best. You may have something on your mind, be tired or feeling burned out, or maybe, things just haven’t been going your way lately. The underlying reason could be personal or work-related. What matters is: you could really use a boost to get back on track.

If you see this happening to a coworker, you have the power to affect positive change. Small, simple actions can make a person feel better – and in the process, you create a bond and build a relationship. As an added bonus, doing good things for others reflects positively on your reputation in the workplace.

Here’s how to do it:

Show Genuine Interest

Ask your coworker about something important to them and concentrate on what they have to say. Show your sincere concern by remembering and commenting on not just their work, but also their family, hobbies, sports, vacations and other outside interests.

Recognize Success

Acknowledge people when they do a good job – even if it’s just a small victory. Little things matter, especially when you’re feeling down. Recognize a colleague’s “can do” attitude.

  • Make sure a person is comfortable with public recognition. If not, keep it on the down low. But, try and make their manager aware of their achievement or milestone, without making the individual feel singled out.


Sometimes, all a person needs is a sounding board. Active listening means letting the other party talk at least 90 percent of the time. If they want your opinion or advice, they’ll ask for it. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut and avoid passing judgment or switching the focus from them to you.


A change of scenery often equates to a change in attitude. Try and get an unmotivated or down in the dumps coworker out of the office – for lunch, if possible, or for an after-hours walk or drink. Getting totally out of the work environment can bring about a fresh perspective and a more positive outlook.


Turn birthdays, work anniversaries and similar milestones into celebrations – but if a colleague needs a boost, make any ordinary day a special occasion. Treat them to coffee, or prepay for the favorite item on the cafeteria lunch menu. Then, when they arrive at the cash register, they’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Give a Gift

It can be as simple and inexpensive as a card or a small bouquet of flowers. It’s not just a cliché: It really is the thought that counts. Just be sure it’s thoughtful and meaningful. Don’t let it backfire by buying a chocolate almond bar for that coworker with a nut allergy!


If a person is overwhelmed (and you know how often that can happen in a medical office) then, maybe all they need is a little assistance. Do some filing for them, answer the phone, make some copies … If they can leave just 15 minutes earlier today, they may be a new person tomorrow.

To optimize your healthcare career, why not partner with MedicalPros Recruiting + Staffing?

Healthcare is all we do, and our arsenal of resources, contacts and market expertise is vast. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.

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