In Italian we can say "Buon lavoro" to someone who is working and it basically means that we wish him/her the best while working (It can be literally translated with "Good work" but it sounds just wrong). It's like when you say "Good morning" to someone and it can be roughly translated with: "Have a good day at work".

Note: I'm aware of the fact that in English you can say "Good job" but that's usually said after a job is done.

Is there such an idiom in English?

  • No there's nothing in English. When we want to say something I would agree the most common and natural is "Have a good day at work". Japanese does have a set way to say this though. Commented Dec 1, 2013 at 12:28
  • "Have a good day at work" expresses the concept well enough. I've always used the Italian idiom to encourage someone, especially if they've been having some kind of problem i.e. "I wish you success in your endeavour/task/job/work"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 1, 2013 at 12:55
  • Along with "buon appetito" this is a very useful phrase. There is another sense of "buon appetito" that you use to politely acknowledge someone eating, like when you bump into a friend at a restaurant. The English translations would be "as you were" (military) or "carry on" (authoritative) or, more politely, "please, don't let us interrupt [your meal]." Does "buon lavoro" allow the same usage? Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 12:04
  • "Keep your nose to the grindstone" is a good-natured way of saying "enjoy your work (even though it may present you with some challenges)." Don Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 4:36
  • In U.S. English, if the point is to wish someone well as they begin what amounts to a usual day at work, you might say something like "Hang in there!" On the other hand, if the person has some special task to do or presentation to give, a more common expression of support might be "Knock 'em dead!" or "Break a leg!"—both idiomatic phrases from the performing arts.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 0:07

4 Answers 4


There is no direct equivalent, just as there is no direct equivalent of bon appétit. In the UK, someone observing someone else working hard might say something like ‘Don’t work too hard, mate’ or even ‘Come on, mate, no slacking’.

  • Or "Another day, another dollar!" Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 12:00

Idiomatically: have a good day (work would be implied); have a good/nice at work;

More likely would be the somewhat cheeky "have fun at work" "have fun working". There are instance when you wish some one success but these are more personal and contextual,


Enjoy your work. Similar to "enjoy your meal".

When eating, you can just say "Tuck in".

  • This is definitely not what I'd say in most circumstances. It could easily be taken as irony or sarcasm, given that work (for many people) is a drudge or chore, quite unlike eating a meal. Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 22:14

you should use subjunctive form "I wish you could do the best"

  • 10
    No. First off, that's not a subjunctive; and secondly, it is not idiomatic English. No one would say that. Commented Dec 1, 2013 at 15:38
  • 5
    And if you did say that to somebody, you might get a smack in the face, because I wish you could is a counter-factual, and clearly implies but you can't, so it seems to be saying that you're not very good at what you're doing.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Dec 1, 2013 at 19:57
  • 3
    I think what you meant to say here is "I wish you the best."
    – Josh
    Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 19:26

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