How to trick your computer (and your boss) into thinking you’re still working

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While the pandemic has been hellish in many ways, being able to work from home has had its perks. No commute, no Brenda from accounting unloading a long-winded drama about her dog’s co-parenting with her ex, and the sheer joy of showing up to meetings in your most comfy pajama bottoms and slippers. But perhaps the biggest advantage of the WFH is the fact that sometimes you don’t have to work at all.

Some people have perfected the art of looking hardworking when they are Actually take care of important personal matters such as a nap or a yoga class. Here are some of the more creative ways to play with the system.

You won’t let your computer idle

Rule number one to pretend to always work: MMake sure your computer screen never stays idle. The most traditional method is to go to your computer’s power settings. On a Mac, go to System Preferences> Battery and check the box that says “prevent the computer from going to sleep automatically when the computer is turned off.” »Slide the” turn off display after “slider to” never “. In Windows 10, go to Settings> System> Power and standby and set both your monitor and your PC to “never”. You can also complete this trick with an app like Move the mouse, which further simulates mouse movement to keep your computer awake.

Many apps and instant messaging platforms like Slack and MS Teams automatically marking yourself as “away” after a period of keyboard inactivity, potentially pushing you in the back straight into the HR office. Here are some of the best ways we’ve found to trick your computer and all of your coworkers into thinking you’re still there.

Trains, fans and … optical mice?

An ingenious individual went the extra mile when they stuck their mouse over what appears to be a motorized Thomas the Tank Engine and let the toy train slide the mouse around a plastic track.

If you have a permanent rotating fan, why not stick some crayons on the sides of this bad boy and let those little lead arms gently stroke your mouse back and forth? Note: You will need a mouse that plugs into your computer to prevent it from falling off the desk.

This third requires specific conditions, but if you have an optical mouse and the desktop app version – not the browser version – of Slack on your phone, this hack is a clutch. Set the brightness to maximum, turn on a long YouTube video, plug it in (so it doesn’t fall asleep), and hover the optical mouse directly over your phone screen (which has Slack open, of course). Changes in the light in the video may make your phone think you are ‘active’. Note: when Mashable tried this, it worked with a YouTube documentary, but not with a different video in a second test. So give it a try before starting this Pilates class.

Configure email and message notifications

When you’re on the go or just enjoying a 20-minute nap, make sure your mobile device is set to receive notifications when coworkers try to reach you. For example, in Slack> Preferences, set the notifications to “All new messages” and uncheck “Use different settings for my mobile devices”. In Gmail settings> Desktop notifications click on “New mail notifications on” and select the desired notification sound.

On your phone Settings> Notifications> Email> Allow notifications (and again, you can customize the sound).

Keep your tone consistent when you’re away from your computer

Often times when we answer quickly from our phones, it is in a shorter or more casual tone than when we answer from our desktops. We can use lower case letters or have more misspelled words. Make sure you bring the same level of professionalism and formality to your out-of-office responses; check your spelling and use all caps and proper punctuation, and sign as you normally would if you were at your desk (think: “Better,” “Thank you,” Where “Greetings” if you are fancy).

Deactivate automatic locking

If you are using the Slack app on your iPhone, in settings, select “Never” for the “Auto-lock” feature on your phone. In theory (we haven’t tested this ourselves), as long as your phone is on, with the Slack app open, that telltale status bubble next to your name should stay green. to indicate that you are present, alert, and ready for business. Even if you are heading for an early Happy Hour.

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