We’ve all had those days (or weeks) when it seems like everybody in the office has something to do but you. Maybe you just finished your project early, or you’re one of those people who only has work to do when everyone else has already done the legwork and research required in the early stages. Sometimes you end up with a free afternoon or two and you want nothing more than to stalk people on social media and binge-watch TV shows on the company wifi, but you’re stuck having to read the same emails over and over again and spend 4 hours typing up one meeting report.
At most offices, young adults like us are seen as lazy by the older employees. So while it may be tempting to spend an afternoon playing Candy Crush and listening to music, it might end up doing more harm to your professional reputation than you imagine.
Obviously if you have a lot of free time at work, you should use the time to grow yourself professionally– learn a new skill, ask for more responsibilities, offer to help someone else out. But on the days you just don’t feel like it, here are a few tips to help you while away an afternoon or so until you’re ready to face the day again the next day.
- Use Whatsapp Web. Whatsapp Web is a wonderful thing! You don’t even have to download anything to your office computer. As long as you have internet access and the website hasn’t been blocked by your IT department (fingers crossed for you!) you can go ahead and waste your time on Whatsapp without even picking up your phone. Everyone will just think you’re really dedicated to typing up that report. Be careful to keep an eye out for people walking behind you–the last thing you want is for your boss to walk by just as you’re chatting with bae.
- Get a notebook. One of the best ways to look busy is to get a notebook that you always carry around with you. Scribble in it constantly, and occasionally pause to think seriously about whatever it is you’re writing. You can write out a short story, compose a poem, or even transcribe your favourite song’s lyrics. You’ll look so busy nobody will want to bother you.
- Sneak in your side hustle. Be careful with this one–some companies are really strict about working on non-company work on company time. But, if you can sneak it in, working on your side hustle can be a great way to look busy at work. And the best part is, because you’ll actually be busy, you’ll look busy too!
Being bored every now and then is fine, and a part of every job. But when you have to pretend to look busy more than you actually are busy, it might be time to either start seriously working towards a promotion, get some new responsibilities, or even find another job. Don’t let idleness become the norm at work–it can be a hard habit to break.