Although the pandemic was hellish in many ways, the opportunity to work from home had its advantages. Commuting with Brenda, who, by all accounts, unleashes a long-winded drama with her co-parents and her dog, is simply a joy for her to show up in her most comfortable PJs and buttocks slippers. Some people have perfected the art of appearing to toil while attending to important personal matters or dozing off before a yoga class. But perhaps the most significant advantage of WFH is that you don’t have to work.
Let’s go through the list to get you some break from work while your boss thinks you are working.
- Rule number one for pretending to work is to make sure your computer screen never sits idle. Here are some creative ways to play the system. The traditional way is to tap into your computer’s power settings.
How to get into the power settings:
In Windows 10, select Settings > System > Power & Sleep and set the screen on your PC. Then drag and turn on the indicator slider.
Go to System Settings > Battery on a Mac and tick the box that says the computer must not sleep when it is turned off. You can complement this trick with an app that moves the mouse to simulate mouse movements to keep your computer awake.
2. The best way to trick your computer is to get your colleagues to think you are getting up afterward. Many apps and instant messaging platforms such as Slack and MS Teams mark you down for a period of keyboard inactivity and stagger you with HRs in the office. Today I am a trained fan of optical mice.
One genius went one step further by sticking his mouse on what appeared to be a motorized Thomas the Tank Engine and dragging it along on plastic rails. If you have a standing, rotating fan, don’t stick a pencil to the side of the tank and let the tiny lead arm whizz over your mouse.
3. The third requires certain conditions: you must have an optical mouse (the desktop app version, not the browser version) and Slack on your phone, and it must be a clutch. Adjust the brightness to the maximum setting, turn on a long YouTube video, plug in the mouse to prevent it from falling asleep, and place it on the screen of your phone (with the slack open, of course). Note that you need to connect the mouse to your computer to prevent it from falling off your desk.
The light changes with the video and fakes the phone to be active. Mashable tried this trick, and it worked for a YouTube documentary, but not for the different videos in the second test. For a trial run, you can attend a Pilates class.
Set up email and message notifications
While enjoying a 20-minute siesta, make sure your mobile device receives notifications when an employee tries to reach you. In your phone’s settings for notifications and email, allow notifications, and you can adjust the tone. For example, in the slack settings, set “Notifications for new messages” and deactivate “Use different settings for my mobile device.”. Click “New Email Notifications” in Gmail Settings > Desktop Notifications, click “New Email Notifications,” and select the desired notification sound.
We give quick answers to our phones with their truncated, casual tone, but we also answer on our desks. Make sure you bring the same professionalism and formality to your answers outside of the desk: spell checker uses capital letters and correct punctuation to unsubscribe you when you are sitting at the desk, and thinks that a good thank you is something you could wish for in this regard. We use lower case letters to misspell words.
They are heading for an early happy hour. In theory (we haven’t tested this ourselves), your phone will have opened the Slack app and uncover a status bubble with your name that will remain green, indicating that you are present, alarmed, and business savvy. You can also use the app in the settings of your iPhone or Never select on your iPhone using the Auto-Lock function.
Have a happy time taking some break from work.