Imagine you are a manager and received an urgent task just now. you need to know what each of your team is doing, and choose one of them to handle this task. So you walk into your office, and asked "what each of you are doing"?

Is this idiomatic and friendly?


David has already given you the correct answer to whether your statement is idiomatic.

But there is no straight forward answer to the question "Is this friendly?"

A question such as "What are you doing?" can surely be asked in a friendly manner; it can also be asked with a stern face and an ungracious behavior. It depends on the mood of the person asking the question and how much they care about your feelings.

Here are a few other ways that I have seen people do this.

  1. Hey guys, so what are we doing today? To this, the members will one by one describe their plan or duty for the day (See that use of "we"? Often a great leader will put that in instead of "you").
  2. Folks, something urgent has come up, and I need someone to take care of this. Who is the least busy today?
  3. Gentlemen, this is priority level 1. This needs to be done within the next hour. Now, which one of you can lend me a hand?
  4. Sometimes supervisors ask "How are things going guys?" And they expect you to tell them about what you are doing right now/that day.

The manner or tone in which this or a related question is asked depends on the culture of the organization, the personality of the manager/supervisor/employee, the manager's relationship with the employees, office atmosphere, weather, etc.



One might say

  • What is each of you doing?
  • What are you doing?

But "what each of you..." is not in the proper form for a question, nor is it common usage. In fact it might well be met with puzzlement.

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