Working from home has become the new norm, but it can be a challenge to stay focused in your house. Making it even more difficult is the fact that you might have to develop a whole new repertoire of tricks to convince your boss and coworkers that you’re actually working. Oddly enough, we have become so used to faking it at the office that it can be more difficult to put on an act while working remotely.
If you’re struggling to convince your boss that you’re being productive, try some of these easy tricks.
1 . Productivity Whiteboard
Get a nice cheap whiteboard and fill it with some of the most basic words and ideas related to your company’s current projects. Make sure it’s easily viewable on any video call, and people will think you’ve really been putting in maximum effort. Bonus points if you stroke your boss’s ego by writing down some of his favorite lame buzzwords in big bold letters.
2. Stay Green
This isn’t about the environment – you have to keep your chat dots green to show that you’re always online. If your company uses a chat program that has a mobile app, download that and make sure it’s always running. Otherwise, make sure your computer is set to never idle.
3. Sync Your Devices
Emails from your phone and computer can look quite different. Make sure that your fonts, text sizes, and signatures are identical on both devices so that nobody gets suspicious when you send an email from your favorite watering hole.
4. Get Dressed
You never know when you might have to get on a last-minute video call, so make sure you’re always dressed for the occasion. You don’t want to log on with bedhead and a ruffled-up t-shirt. Keep a blazer near your workstation so you can just toss it on at any moment. Even on top of a casual shirt it will help you feign an air of professionalism.
5. Send Emails Throughout the Day
It’s easy to check emails on your phone whenever they come through, but you should set reminders to actually respond to at least some of these messages. It can be something simple like “Okay, thanks” or “Will do!” As long as people think you’re responding in a reasonable amount of time, they should be placated.
6. Fill Your Shared Calendar with “Meetings”
If others can see your calendar, place meetings throughout the day so that they know not to disturb you during these times. These don’t have to be real meetings, but they should be believable enough that your boss will trust you while you’re actually tuning into your favorite daytime talk show.
7. Talk About Coffee All the Time
If you always mention that you’re about to go get another cup of coffee, people will think you’re really trying to stay productive through the power of caffeine. Make it known that you like your coffee black so that everyone knows you’re not messing around.
8. Send out Industry Updates
If you happen to come across any news about your industry, send emails to your team to make sure they’re “keeping a pulse on the market.” Yes, coworkers may roll their eyes when they see these emails come through, but your boss will appreciate that you’re taking the job “seriously.”
9. Request Q&A Conference Calls
Act like you really want to help your company improve by requesting intermittent conference calls to discuss your “progress.” It might require you to be present for a short amount of time every week, but you can just sit back and let everyone else come up with the questions.
10. Suck Up on Social Media
The only time you should be using Facebook or Instagram during working hours is to post annoying promotions for your company. Your friends and coworkers will hate you for it, but your seemingly undying loyalty to the company will be gold in the eyes of your superiors.