For all my office workers, raise your hand if you've ever had to pretend to look busy. *waits* OK, for all those who didn't raise their hand, I know you're faking. We've ALL done this, this is common knowledge.
So when the question "Office workers of Reddit, what’s your go-to activity to 'look busy' when you have no work to do?" was asked, I wanted to know how y'all hide from your boss. Here's some of the best tips:
1. Just look frustrated.
"Just look frustrated with whatever you're doing. Squint at your computer screen, shake your head, let out an occasional sigh, and have a bunch of papers on your desk you can rifle through periodically. You don't want to look so frustrated that you might need some help, but if you do this right, everybody will think you're already too busy with something to be bothered."
2. Just grab office tools and move around:
"I’m a cleaner/janitor in a warehouse complex, and sometimes I would just grab a broom or a bucket and walk around. I could walk laps around the place for hours without doing anything if I wanted."
3. Open up those internet tabs.
"My coworkers don't really know computers like I do, and since my job is 90% on the computer, I just load up three or four Explorer windows over a random Excel spreadsheet and stare intently at it."
4. Hold something important looking at all times:
"If you work in a big enough building, just put something important-looking in one hand (papers, a clipboard works perfectly, etc) and scurry intensely from one random place to the next. As long as you're holding something official (change it up) and hurrying semi-urgently from place to place, you can go like this right up to your yearly review."
5. Battle your friends with various work tasks:
"This was over thirty years ago, but a coworker and me used to delete one important file from a test UNIX server and then see how long it took the other to fix it. That was a great way to learn."
6. Use Microsoft Excel. PERIOD.
"Open an Excel spreadsheet, start filling it in, and watch your boss back away."
7. Read something that could look like work:
"Find something to read that they can’t tell isn’t work if they don’t look too close. Like did you know the script of The Truman Show is online somewhere? That was a fun day."
8. Send yourself stuff and read it like an email:
"I have a steady flow of work these days, but when I first started, my position was brand new. I started emailing myself really long articles and short stories. I'd then either just read them straight from email, or I'd past them into an Excel/Word/Publisher document."
9. Call numbers that don't work so it looks like you're on the phone:
"In a call center, I’d dial a number I knew would not connect. The line registered as busy so my ‘busy on a call’ stats were always very high. Just had to remember to cover the phone light with something if I walked away to make a coffee."
10. Stay on social media so it looks like you're doing research:
"I'm a social media manager, so I can just browse through Instagram and pretend I'm looking for inspiration, influencers, or the competition."
11. And lastly, scowl and power walk:
"Before my desk job days, when I was in retail/guest service, the equivalent was just power walking nowhere in particular with a slight scowl. It obviously meant I had somewhere important to be and shouldn’t be bothered."
Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.