When the boss is away…
Now summer’s here there’s a good chance your boss has left the building. Here are Kipp’s top tips for how to play when the cat’s away.
July 5, 2010 4:07 by kippreport
There’s no excuse not to get your cardio with Kipp’s suggestions for a pulse-pumping tournament of Office Olympics. And attire is business/casual, so no excuses permitted. Just loosen that tie and let the games begin.
Combine each of these mini games, courtesy of the Guardian, into your own corporate competition. Loser buys the pizza.
- Marathon: It’s a race of course – in full business attire – suit, tie, skirt and heels. First team to make it to your sister branch across town, wins. (Note: Take plenty of water if you’re in Dubai. Or money for a cab.)
- Javelin: You remember the javelin throw. Well here’s our scaled down version using a #2 pencil – the sharper the better. Get a running start and hurl it at the target – automatic win if it lands in the waste bin. (Note: Be aware of potential for eye injury.)
- Weights: Line up your colleagues in size order and see which ones you can lift over your head. (Note: Be aware of the risk of inappropriate contact.)
- Hammer: Think rodeo cowboy for this one, as you spin that computer mouse around your head from its long cord. Now unleash it across the parking lot and see whose hurl goes the distance. (Exclude the IT department, as they might not be best pleased.)
Volleyball. Kipp saved the best for last, and we’ve added our own little twist to it. Remember that unfair office appraisal from your last corporate evaluation? Fish it out of your desk drawer, wad it up into a nice tight ball, and use it as a volley ball. Game on.
You don’t have to wait for April fool’s day or Halloween to play a few pranks. In fact, anytime’s the right time for office high-jinks – provided the head honcho’s on vacation, of course. Here’s a rundown of some of Kipp’s favorite office pranks:
1. Discretely unleash a jar of extra noisy crickets.
2. Place "out of order" signs on all the bathrooms on your floor. (Bonus: not only will you enjoy watching your co-workers on their long hikes to the bathroom, but you’ll also have the “out of order” one all to yourself for the day).
3. Remove all the keys from a colleague’s keyboard and stick them to the ceiling.
4. Switch the keys on a keyboard round.
4. Freak out co-workers with a fake stapler wound.
5. Glue a $5 bill to the floor and watch passersby try to pick it up. Believe us, it’s worth every penny.
6. Move a colleague’s desk, with everything in it, into the bathroom (idea courtesy of the Office).
7. Stick post-it notes under any optic mouse. Colleagues won’t understand why they don’t work.
8. Embed a colleague’s stapler in Jell-O (thank you again, the Office).
9. Intercept paper before it goes in the recycling bin. Screw it up, and begin to fill the boss’s office. If he or she is away a week or two, it should be nice and full by the time they return.
We know – it’s hard to make ends meet on one salary. So make the most of any office downtime, but doing a little day trading. (Kipp heard that shares in the UK’s least favorite oil giant are a “screaming buy” right now).
Or you might go a little Zen and unload that crush of clutter weighing you down. Stage an impromptu office sale of all your outdated stuff, and anything you think the IT department won’t notice is missing. You could even bring some stuff from home, and host your own little jumble sale.
Better yet, go international selling your junk. Run your own mini-online empire from Ebay. And if time allows, consider browsing for your own bargains there; you make a little money, you save a little money, how can you lose. Get the rest of the office involved and you hav your own company set up and ready to go.
No, this is not just a time waster’s charter. Dr. Sara Mednick is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, and the author of “Take a Nap! Change Your Life.”
A leading researcher in the science of napping, Dr Mednick says that, “without a midday rest, performance falls apart across the day. Napping maintains and even boosts your skills, from creative problem solving, and alertness and physical stamina, to mood and memory.”
So if the boss comes back early to find you face down on your desk, your head resting on a pillow from the break room, with a little drool running down your chin, just tell him you were optimizing your post-lunch performance capability. And if he buys that, he’ll buy anything. Tell him you have an urgent meeting with a client at the beach.
Along the lines of the napping advice, this offers a way to be happier and healthier – surely what every boss wants from his employees?
And it turns out you don’t have to be the Dalai Lama to benefit from meditation. Fans of the Zen-inspired practice say that it can make you more relaxed, peaceful, productive, and happy.
Think you don’t know how to meditate? Check out this Quick Guide to Meditation in the Workplace. The main tips are: Find a quiet place (Kipp suggests a daily “quiet time” to create optimum opportunity for either naps of meditation); practice breathing (we like to do this 24 hours a day, as it happens); and harness your thoughts (we’re pretty sure this just means think about something other than Facebook).
Before you know it, you’ll be whispering mantras and pruning your desktop bonsai.
Is there anything better than making a call and not having to pay the bill? Yes actually, because done in the office environment it’s even sweeter, as you’re going to be paid for your trouble, and if done right, everyone will assume you are working. So when the boss packs his bag, dig out the address book and catch up with a few friends (especially if you have friends who are a long way away, like a different country).
If you’re worried about your colleagues judging you, just keep it low and every once in a while yell out, “I asked for those figures yesterday,” or “I don’t care what the shareholders say, we can save 6 percent on the annual net with the new technical specs I’m proposing.” It’s a fool proof way to look like a busy exec.
And it’s not just great for long distance conversation – take five to catch up with local friends too. Scheduling dinner dates, dental appointments, and Sunday brunch with your in laws will make you more personally productive, even if it means being professionally below par.
Believe us, if the powers that be didn’t want you doing this, they’d never have invested in an office camera. Yes, it might be meant for office assignments, but seriously, when was the last time anyone used the thing? So put that now out of date digital camera to some use and shoot dumb photos of your colleagues. If time permits, upload them to Facebook – unless your boss is on your Facebook, of course.
Better yet, star in your own indie movie, with colleagues as your costars, of course. You’d be surprised what they’ll accept at Cannes nowadays.
And in the unlikely event that a world famous film festival fails to select your shoddy office movie for a screening, don’t panic, you can always hold its official premiere at the…
Why should you have to wait for a special occasion to have your office party? The boss is away, isn’t that occasion enough?
To pull it off well, you’ll need to share jobs. Form a party committee, and divide up responsibilities – someone on the case for food, someone for drink, someone for decorations, music and so on. After following the rest of Kipp’s advice, you’ll be able to screen your masterpiece and host the grand finals of the office Olympics on the day. That should get things off to a flying start.
Oh, and f you’re worried about paying for it all, didn’t you make some money running you online business?
The key to effective time wasting at work is to put some real time and effort in to it. Otherwise, you’ll just end up doing your job, and none of us wants that.
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