Your colleague has Bad Breath!.... What do you do?

"I don't know if you've noticed, but my colleague needs a breath mint."
Anonymous Colleague
Employee

Well to tell you the truth you really should not do anything about it. It is their body and it is their choice but if it starts to affect you and your colleagues at work then maybe you should consider doing something about it. Also, if you are a close friend to your colleague and you believe that doing so will help them improve their social well-being in the workplace then you should definitely do it.

There are a number of ways to go about telling your co-worker they have bad breath. There is the passive way where you just send out an email blast asking everyone to take care of their personal hygiene as part of health week.

You can also leave breath mints on your colleague’s workstations anonymously. Leaving a note with the breath mint should be a nice touch. But doing it this way is definitely not the way to go as this may take longer and it might not fix the problem at all. They will be talked about behind their backs and even avoided by other team members, creating a toxic workplace. Also, they’ll be held back professionally, whether in your company or someone else’s when they go to a different company. The best way is the direct approach, It may be embarrassing for you and your colleague but it will ensure that the issue will be resolved and you would definitely feel good about it.

1. Look for a private location. – You don’t want anyone overhearing your private conversation.

Your colleague has Bad Breath! What do you do?

2. To start the conversation, compliment him or her – Let them know they are a very cherished employee. Make sure that they are comfortable talking to you.

Your colleague has Bad Breath! What do you do?

3. Now let them know you will be talking about something private. – Get them ready to hear your confession. Make sure they feel safe and secure with the sensitive topic you will be talking about.

Your colleague has Bad Breath! What do you do?

4. Give it to them straight. – This is where you muster your courage and tell them their breath stinks. No need to hold back at this point as you have prepared them for this conversation! Don’t say “We’ve noticed” or any indirect statements as this may just embarrass them further.

Your colleague has Bad Breath! What do you do?

5. Be encouraging and think about assisting them in understanding the situation. – Tell them you need to talk about this since it can prevent them from moving forward with your career. Also let them know that since you value their opinion just as much as your clients do, You wouldn’t want something like foul breath to detract your clients from noticing your talents and skills.

Your colleague has Bad Breath! What do you do?

6. Find out where they are in this situation and be understanding and honest with them. – Let them feel that you are on their side. Inquire if they are aware of this problem and offer help if needed.

Your colleague has Bad Breath! What do you do?

7. Put their mind at ease. – Let them know you are on their side. Tell them their job is not affected, but it is important that we fix the issue. Ask them if this is something they think they can take care of.

Your colleague has Bad Breath! What do you do?

8. Set their expectations. – Set a time frame to see if they can address the problem in this time frame. 

9. Finish with more praise and thank them for trusting you with this sensitive topic – Tell them you really value their work here at the company. Let them know you really want to see them succeed here and do everything you can to help them overcome this situation.