How to Make It Look Like You’re Sitting at Your Desk

You don’t have to be in the office to get the job done, but sometimes it’s a good idea to make everything look like you are there.

As many office workers know, there are many advantages to being at your desk at all times. In some companies, you can accumulate significant career capital if people think of you as someone who comes in regularly sooner or later. Other companies value time on the face (or, as is more often the case, time to “get stuck in a chair”), even if it is easier and more productive for employees to do their work literally anywhere else.

So it’s worth knowing how to make it look like you’re sitting at your desk when you’re actually at home, or in a coffee shop, or – if your office is so shabby – in an interview.

Easy tricks

There are some simple tricks you can use if you need to take a short break. For example, disabling your computer’s sleep mode may cause the screen to remain lit long enough for you to sneak out and make a personal call.

However, some offices prefer that employees get off their computers every time they leave their desks, even for a minute or two (natch for security reasons). In this case, you want it to look like you are still in the building, even if your monitor has temporarily turned off. Try to make your desk look like you just stepped away for a cup of coffee or to use the restroom – perhaps you have some marker sheets without a lid at the top, or maybe you have a strategically placed donut torn from everything in one piece. Nobody leaves the office without finishing their donut, right?

More tricky steps

Most people will consider doing something obvious, like throwing a coat over the back of a writing chair, but if you really want to go for this trick, you need to take it one step further. For example, if you are carrying a purse, satchel or briefcase, leave it in plain sight (and take everything you need with you in a second smaller purse). If you wear comfortable shoes and change shoes when you are in the office, make sure everyone can see that your “casual shoes” are still under your desk.

Think about how you can tell if other people are in the office or gone for the day – do they leave their headphones plugged into the headphone jack on their computer? Do they always have an insulated lunch box or a half-empty bag of almonds? Do they pick up papers or papers in the morning and put them away before leaving? Learn other people’s “gestures” and then ask yourself if you have similar “gestures” that you can actively manipulate.

Getting help (from colleagues and friends)

If you want to expand your manipulation, you have to think like a team player. Self- help website Farnam Street tells the story of how one employee paid the office cleaners to look like he was sitting at his desk:

One of our acquaintances once made an investment with almost unlimited return, playing the system. He worked for an investment firm that valued employees based on how hard they worked, not necessarily on their performance. Every Monday he brought in a series of sports jackets and left them at the office. He paid cleaning ladies $ 20 a week to change the coat on his chair and turn on the computer. Whatever happened, it turned out that he was always the first to come to the office, although he often did not show up from “meeting with clients” until 10. When it came to bonus time, he made a huge profit from it. $ 20 investment.

If you do not want to use cleaners, you can always ask a reliable employee to cover you. They can move the papers on your desk, swap the coffee in your mug to keep it always hot, or take another bite from the donut.

Here I should probably clarify that Lifehacker is not responsible if you apply any of the above hacks in practice and instead of getting bonuses, you will be fired. But if you’re looking for tips to help you slip out of the office every now and then (especially if you’re hoping to use that time to get the job done and “exceed expectations”), we’ll be happy to provide them for you. After all, this is a week of evil – although I personally hope you use these tricks forever.


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